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October 1986

Adolescents' Seat Belt Use and Car Telephones

Author Affiliations

The Kennedy Institute for Handicapped Children and The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine 707 N Broadway Baltimore, MD 21205

Am J Dis Child. 1986;140(10):975. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1986.02140240021017

Sir.—Pediatricians and concerned parents have lamented the failure of adolescents to wear seat belts during automobile travel.1 Several interventions have been proposed to enhance compliance, from interlocking devices for the car ignition or the radio/cassette player,2 to seat belt laws, to threats of severe punishments such as grounding on Saturday nights. These interventions have been deleted by manufacturers and defeated by consumers or have allowed passengers to ride unrestrained, while threats to adolescents are known to be abysmally ineffective. New technological advances, however, may contribute toward a solution to the problem.

The telecommunications industry may provide just the solution for adolescents. The recent exponential increase in the number of cars equipped with cellular telephones in large urban and suburban areas provides a significant and probably effective consequence for seat belt use. The target population (children between the ages 12 and 18 years) is prone to frequent and

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