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Safety Belt / Motorcycle Helmet Survey

2004 Mississippi

Prepared for:

The Office of Highway Safety
Division of Public Safety Planning, Mississippi Department of Public Safety

October 2004

Mississippi State University

SSRCResearch Center Social Science

Prepared by:

James W. Landrum, David R. Parrish and Jean A. Mann


Traffic Safety Facts 2002 - Overview, a publication of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated from 1975 to 2002 safety belts saved 164,164 lives. An estimated 5,085 children under age 5 were saved from 1975 to 2002. Traffic Safety Facts 2002 Data - Rural Urban Comparison reports that
“In 2002, rural fatal crashes accounted for 60 percent of all traffic fatalities, 39 percent of the vehicle miles traveled and 21 percent of the population...Vehicle occupants involved in rural fatal crashes are ejected 16 percent of the time, while 8 percent of urban vehicle occupants are ejected...Vehicle occupant fatalities are more likely to have been ejected (27 percent) compared to occupant fatalities occurring in urban crashes (15 percent).”

Rural fatal crashed are over represented in the southeastern states where seatbelt use is lower than other parts of the country. It is known that lack of using a seat belt and being ejected from a car are highly correlated. This has been particularly true on Mississippi’s rural roads where seatbelt use is often abysmally low. During the past four years, Mississippi along with other southeastern states and other states around the country participated in a major effort conducted under the term ‘Click It or Ticket’ during Memorial Day mobilizations. These efforts were an attempt to increase seat belt awareness and use. The project included a number of phases. The first of these phases was an earned media phase including public service announcements, brochures, and newspaper articles that were introduced to the Mississippi public four weeks prior to Memorial Day. After two weeks of earned media, two weeks of the second phase, an extensive paid media campaign began. In the week before and including Memorial Day, a statewide law enforcement blitz (third phase) increased the intensity of seatbelt law enforcement throughout the state. All law enforcement agencies participated in this increased level of enforcement by using road blocks as well as saturated patrolling efforts. The media and law enforcement interventions were heavily evaluated using of a number of approaches. Scientific telephone surveys were used in the first three years 2001, 2002, and 2003. These telephone surveys included over 500 interviews prior to and after any media or law enforcement efforts. The interviews included gathered information from Mississippians about their knowledge and attitudes toward seatbelt use and laws, as well as the extent of the public awareness of the various phases of the media and law enforcement campaign. A detailed description of the telephone interviews may be found in a report entitled “Mississippians and Seatbelts. Three Years of Telephone Comparisons, 2001, 2002, 2003.”

2 Over the past four years, several different types of seatbelt surveys were used to measure the impact of seatbelt use for the all Mississippians and a number of sub groups within the state. In the first year, 2001, written surveys were taken at selected Mississippi Highway Patrol licensing stations to measure the public awareness of seatbelt issues during the various phases of the media and law enforcement interventions. These findings are included in a comprehensive report entitled “2001 Click It or Ticket: Suite of Surveys.” This publication includes evaluation of all interventions used the first year.
Seatbelt MIN Surveys
A Two Year Comparison 2002 2003


The Office of Highway Safety
Division of Public Safety Planning, Mississippi Department of Public Safety

Prepared for:

June 2004

Prepared by:

James W. Landrum, David R. Parrish and Jean A. Mann

During the first two years (2001 and 2002) mini surveys were conducted at selected sites corresponding to the phases of the media and law enforcement interventions. These surveys were conducted at 64 sites in 8 of the sample counties. These surveys collected information on the impact of the media and law enforcement interventions, on seat belt use among men, women, white, non-white, driver or passenger, pickup truck drivers and passengers and passenger car drivers and passengers. These findings for may be found in a report entitled, “Seatbelt Mini Surveys: A Two-Year Comparison 2002, 2003.”

In the third project year, 2003, media and law enforcement interventions were conducted. Evaluation included two pre and post telephone surveys and two complete (16 county) observational seat belt surveys. The results of all six telephone surveys conducted in 2001, 2002 and 2003 are presented in a report entitled “ Mississippians and Seatbelts: Three Years of Telephone Survey Comparisons, 2001, 2002, 2003. These surveys were scientifically conducted by the Survey Research Unit of the Social Science Research Center at Mississippi State University under the direction of Dr. Wolfgang Frese.
Social Science Research Center Mississippi State University


In the present year, 2004, two observational surveys were conducted. One was conducted prior to media and law enforcement intervention on the same sample of 64 sites used in the mini surveys. This survey collected information on seat belt use only. The follow-up survey using all 409 survey sites in 16 counties, was completed following all law enforcement and media interventions.


4 SEATBELT SURVEY METHODOLOGY The Seat belt and motorcycle survey for Mississippi uses a multistage area probability approach. In the first stage, an appropriate number of sampling units are randomly selected. The primary sampling unit for the Mississippi survey is the county. The least populated counties, approximately 15% of the State’s population, are excluded from the sampling process. The survey was conducted in 16 Mississippi Counties containing approximately 46% of the State’s population. Summary of Sampling Methodology I. Three counties were selected as certainty counties because of having populations much larger than other Mississippi Counties. The certainty counties were Harrison, Hinds, and Jackson. II. Thirty-two of the least populated counties, whose combined population accounted for only 15% of the state’s population, were eliminated from sampling. III. Sampling was done with replacement. In addition to the three certainty counties, 13 other counties were chosen, thus the sample consists of 16 counties. IV. The sample includes 409 forty-minute observation periods. The three certainty counties were allotted 28 observation periods, while the remaining 13 counties were allotted 25 observation periods each. V. The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) provided information for all road segments which Average Daily Travel (ADT) was equal to or exceeded 500 miles. Through a random variable generated by the computer program Statistical Program for the Social Sciences (SPSS), all road segments in each of the counties were randomly selected. VI. The roads were then sorted by county and functional road classification. The functional road classifications of the road were re coded into six functional classes. VII. Total Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) per year for each county were calculated by multiplying ADT times road segment length. A similar statistic was calculated for each of the functional road classes. This figure was divided by the total county VMT and then multiplied by the number of observation time periods. For example, there are 3,860 road segments in Hinds County with a VMT of 5,905,627.26. Functional road Class 1 had a VMT of 640,676. The 640,676 was then divided by 5,905,627.26 equaling .1084857 which was in turn multiplied by 28 or the number of observation periods allotted to Hinds County. Thus 3.0375991, or three observation periods were allotted to Class 1 roads in Hinds County, etc. The first six segments from road Class 1 in Hinds County were chosen for the sample, were roads for each road class for the remaining five road classes. VIII. All road segments were randomly selected and sorted by functional class. The number of roads to be sampled in each class was selected in the order that they were chosen in the random sampling process. For example, if Hinds County needed to sample three Class 1 roads, the first three Class 1 roads plus several back up selections were chosen. The TP number or location designation was then sent to MDOT to be placed on maps and sent back to Mississippi State. IX. Sites for each county were then clustered according to geographical proximity.

5 X. For each cluster and each site a day of the week was randomly chosen. All days of the week were eligible for selection. XI. Once a site was assigned a day of the week, observation times between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. were randomly chosen in hourly increments. One hour for lunch was randomly chosen from the hours from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. XII. Direction of observation was randomly assigned for all 409 sites using random assignment procedure generated by SPSS. XIII. Observers were instructed to observe from a site using the assigned direction for a period of 40 minutes. Interstate sites were surveyed on off ramps. XIV. The sampling frame includes counting all passenger vehicles, sports utility vehicles, vans and pickup trucks not exempted by state law. Two observers are used at each observation site. One observer counts the driver and outside passengers on the front seat of passenger cars, sport utility vehicles and vans. The other observer counts the driver and outside passenger in pickup trucks. Further details on the sampling methodology of the survey “DOCUMENTATION Of MISSISSIPPI OBSERVATIONAL SURVEYS OF SEAT BELT AND MOTORCYCLE HELMET USE”* prepared by Dr. Stephen H. Richards Director, Transportation Center of the University of Tennessee and Dr. Tommy Wright Adjunct professor of Statistics of the University of Tennessee, and can be obtained from the Social Science Research Center at Mississippi State University, Box 5287 Mississippi State, MS 39662, or by calling Mr. Jim Landrum a 662-325 7962.


6 This report will be divided into three sections. Section I will compare seat belt use prior to project intervention and seat belt use following intervention. Only the 64 sub sample mini sites in eight counties are compared. This sample consists of the same sites used for the mini surveys conducted in 2001 and 2002. Section II will include the analysis of the complete 2004 Mississippi observational survey of 409 sites in 16 Mississippi counties. This survey was conducted after project implementation between the dates of Monday June 7, 2004 and Sunday July 11, 2004. Only one day of counts occurred past this deadline. One day of observations was made in Bolivar County on July 16, 2004. Section III will include short analysis of Motorcycle Helmet Use in Mississippi.


Sample survey counties include the 64 sites in eight counties previously used in 2001 and 2002. Generally, mini surveys are conducted before and after the earned media phase, after the paid media period and after the law enforcement period. Data were collected in four surveys in each of the two years. In these eight surveys data were collected on sex, race, driver and passenger in pickup trucks and passenger cars. In 2004, the same sample sites were used before and after the intervention and only the seat belt use of drivers and passengers in passenger cars and pickup trucks was recorded. Sample counties include a mixture of different geographical regions, rural and urban counties. The counties are Bolivar County in the Mississippi Delta, Desoto County located in the Northwest corner of the State near Memphis, Lee County in Northeast Mississippi, Lowndes County in the Northeast, Lauderdale in East Central Mississippi, Lamar County, in Southeast Mississippi, Harrison County on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and Hinds County in West Central Mississippi where the Capital of Mississippi is located. Desoto, Harrison, Hinds and Lamar are located in standard metropolitan areas. The percentage of sites drawn from each of the road types is roughly the same as the overall sample of 409 sites. It may be observed that the mini sample is slightly over represented in rural interstate sites and slightly under represented in urban interstate sites. Table One: Percent of the Types of Roads Survey in 64 Sub Samples Sites


Rural Interstate Rural Major Rural Local Urban Interstate Urban Major Urban Local Total

Frequency Percent 7 10.9 16 10 9 14 8 64 25.0 15.6 14.1 21.9 12.5 100.0

Frequency overall sample 58 113 61 38 87 52 409

Percent overall sample 14.2 27.6 14.9 9.3 21.3 12.7 100.00

8 Seatbelt use in the sub sample sites are presented in Table Two. Seatbelt use in the 64 sub sample survey sites increased from 62% in the survey taken prior to the Memorial Day intervention to 66% in the follow-up survey.

Table Two:

Comparison in Pre and Post Sub Sample Surveys 2004 (64 Sites in Eight Counties) Weighted Percent Seatbelt Use (%) 62 66 Actual Number of Observations 17,684 17,480

Counted: Survey Prior to Intervention Survey After Intervention

Bound (%) ± 2.8 ± 1.9

9 Seatbelt use increased in most of the sub sample survey counties with the exception of Lamar. As can be observed in Table Three, significant percent increases occurred in half of the sample counties. These increases were in Bolivar (+54), Desoto (+33) Lauderdale (+24) and Lowndes (+11). There was a minor increase of +5 percent in Hinds county. Minor decreases occurred in two counties Harrison (-3) and Lamar (-7). One county, Lee, remained the same. Overall there was a modest increase of 7 percent in seatbelt use in the mini seatbelt study.

Table Three: Weighted/Adjusted TOTAL County Counts in Sub Sample Surveys Seatbelt Use (%): Pre Intervention Survey 41 51 68 66 64 50 56 55 62± 2.8 Seatbelt Use (%): Post Intervention Survey 63 68 66 69 60 62 56 61 66± 1.9 Percent Change (%) 22 17 -2 3 -4 12 No Change 6 4 Percent Increase or Decrease (%) +54 33 -3 5 -7 24 0 11 7

County Bolivar Desoto Harrison Hinds Lamar Lauderdale Lee Lowndes Total

Not only did seatbelt use increase in most of the counties in the sub sample, seat belt use also increased on all types of roads surveyed, with the exception of rural local roads where

10 seatbelt use apparently decreased. Not surprisingly these type of rural roads nationwide are over represented in the percent of fatalities per population and vehicle miles traveled.. In Table Four comparisons of pre-post seatbelt use by road category are presented.

Table Four: Before and After Intervention Seatbelt use by road category. Before Intervention (%) 71 62 64 70 64 58 62 After Intervention (%) 74 67 58 73 67 60 66 Percent Change (%) 3 5 -6 3 3 2 4 Percent Increase or Decrease (%) 4 8 -10 4

Type of Road Rural Interstates Rural Major and Collector Roads Rural Local Roads Urban Interstates and Expressways Urban major roads and Collector Roads Urban Local Total

5 4 7


11 This Section provides a summary of the results of the complete 2004 Mississippi Seatbelt / Motorcycle Helmet Survey of 409 sites in 16 Mississippi counties. This survey was conducted after media and enforcement interventions between the dates of Monday June 7, 2004 and Sunday July 11, 2004. Only one day of observations occurred past this deadline. That count occurred in Bolivar County on July 16. The methodology used for the survey was previously described in Section I of this report (pages 3 and 4). There were 409 sites surveyed rather than 64 with the sites being located in 16 Mississippi Counties rather than 8. In addition to sites used in the sub sample (Bolivar, Desoto, Harrison, Hinds, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lee and Lowndes - Red Counties) sites in eight other counties were included (Leflore, Jackson, Madison, Rankin, Scott, Simpson, Warren and Yazoo - Blue Counties). The percentage of road classes counted was very similar the those counted in the sub sample except that there was a lower percentage of rural interstates in the sub sample than in the complete survey and a higher percentage of urban interstate sites in sub sample (14 to 9). If rural and urban interstate sites are combined the percentage of sites counted in the sub sample with the overall sample are almost identical. See Table One. Weighted seatbelt use ranked from high to low by County are listed in Table Five below. As can be observed there is considerable disparity of seatbelt use in the surveyed counties. The usage rates range from 71% in Rankin County to only 41% in Scott County. Also presented in Table 5 is a comparison of seatbelt usage in the 8 sub sample counties compared to seatbelt use in the same counties gathered in the complete survey. As can be seen the sub sample sites are very representative of the overall counts for each respective county.

Column two Table 5 is a comparison of seatbelt usage in the 8 sub sample counties (64 sites) compared to seatbelt use in the same counties in the complete survey. Overall belt use in the sub sample sites was slightly higher, 66 as compared to 63 percent.

12 Column three shows belt usage of those sites in the sub sample county (142 sites). The sub sample counties account for 206 of 409 (50.37%) of the total sites counted in the total survey. However, only 64 of these 206 sites are used in the sub sample. This leaves 142 sites in those eight counties that were not a part of the sub sample. Seat belt use in these 142 sites is 65 %, which is very close to the usage in the overall survey as well as the 64 sites used in the sub sample. Only in Desoto County is there an apparent difference in seat belt usage in the sub sample compared to the overall sample and the “all sites minus sub sample” for that county. Table Five: Comparison of 2004 Seatbelt Usage Rates for Complete Survey and Sub Sample County All Sites (%) n=409 Rankin Hinds Harrison Simpson Madison Bolivar Desoto Jackson Lamar Lauderdale Lowndes Warren Yazoo Lee Leflore Scott Totals 71 69 67 66 65 63 62 62 61 60 60 59 56 54 43 41 63.16 ± 3.17 Mini Sites (%) n=64 n/a 69 66 n/a n/a 63 68 n/a 60 62 61 n/a n/a 56 n/a n/a 66 ± 1.91 All Sites minus Sub Sample Sites (%) n=142 n/a 69 67 n/a n/a 62 60 n/a 63 60 60 n/a n/a 52 n/a n/a 65.15

Figures presented in Table Six provide un-weighted (actual number of observations) belt use counts by selected site groups. Table Six also gives further insight into the accuracy of seatbelt counts in Mississippi by providing validation in percentage of seat belt users. There is relatively no difference in the percent using seatbelts among the non-mini sites (n=345), mini

13 sites (n=64) and overall seatbelt sites (n=409). However, considering the counts below are unweighted counts, a difference can be noticed between the numbers below and the official reported seat belt percentage for the state. The 65% using seatbelts for the combined mini and non-mini sites below is slightly higher than the official reported seat belt usage for the state of 63%.

Table Six: Percent Belted and Un-weighted Counts of Mini and Non Mini Observations Total Combined Mini and Non Mini Sites n=409 69,068 37,011 106,079 65%

Non Mini Sites n=345 Using Seat Belts Not Using Seat Belts Total Percent Using Seat Belts 57,359 31,240 88,599 65%

Mini Sites n=64 11,709 5,771 17,480 66%

14 A summary of total seat belt use for 2004 in Mississippi is presented in Table Seven below. Seat belt use by occupants in pickup trucks (58.46%) continues to lag far behind the use of seat belt in occupants of passenger cars 66.01%. Overall seatbelt use in Mississippi for the year 2004 is 63.16% ± 3.17.

Table Seven: Summary of Mississippi 2004 Total Seatbelt Use Weighted Seatbelt Use (%) Car seatbelt use Pick up truck seat belt use Total Seatbelt use 66.01 58.46 63.16 Bound (%) ± 3.75 ± 2.65 ± 3.17

15 Table Eight gives further testimony to the representative nature of the sub sample sites (n=64) to the complete survey sites (n=409). The only major difference by type of road can be seen in Urban Major Roads and Collectors where 64% of vehicle occupants are belted in the overall survey compared to 67% in the sub sample. This difference skews the total results a bit more positively as can be seen in the table below. Table Eight: Comparison of Weighted Seatbelt Use in All Sites vs Sub Sample Sites by Road Classification Weighted Seatbelt Use (%) Complete Survey Sites n=409 74 73 66 64 60 60 63.16 ± 3.17 Weighted Seatbelt Use (%) Sub Sample Sites n=64 74 73 67 67 58 60 66 ±1.91

Type of Road

Rural Interstates Urban Interstates Rural Major Roads and Collectors Urban Major Roads and Collectors Rural Local Roads Urban Local Roads Totals

It may be concluded by a number of different comparisons that that seat belt use in the sub sample sites are very representative of overall seat belt use in Mississippi.


SECTION III: MOTORCYCLE HELMET USE The Final segment to be discussed concerns the motorcycle helmet Use in Mississippi. As a part of the Seat Belt Survey, motorcycle helmets are also counted. Mississippi is fortunate to have an excellent Motorcycle Helmet law. Mississippi has a primary law in regards to motorcycle helmet use. All motorcycle riders must wear helmets or receive a ticket. Whereas motorcycle helmet use has shown a sharp decline in use in the U.S. , Mississippi has maintained a consistently high percentage of use. A number of studies (Arkansas, Texas to name two) have consistently and very strongly, shown that helmet use is directly correlated with having a primary law. It is hoped that the legislature will continue to resist efforts to roll back the primary law. Motorcycle helmet use in 2004 in Mississippi was is 99.29 % ± 1.0031. . Table Nine provides a summary on the 2004 Motorcycle Helmet Survey in Mississippi. There was no attempt in the survey to judge whether the helmet was legal or illegal. Table Nine: Mississippi 2004 Un-weighted Motorcycle Helmet Count Counts Using Helmet Not Using Helmet Total 594 5 599 Percentage (%) 99.17 .83 100.0


For the past four years, intense media and enforcement campaigns have been directed towards Mississippians with the intent of increasing seat belt use. Click It or Ticket and other seatbelt awareness campaigns were conducted and the effectiveness of these efforts was evaluated by several types of surveys managed by the Social Science Research Center at Mississippi State University. The 2004 mini surveys conducted around the Memorial Day holiday included seatbelt observations at 64 sites in 8 counties. The results of the surveys showed a 4% change in seatbelt use from 62% before the intervention to 66% after the campaign. The survey results were also analyzed by county and by type of road. Seatbelt use increased in all the counties except Harrison (-2%), Lamar (-4%) and Lee (0%). Also, seatbelt use increased by all type of road segment except rural local roads (-6%) which is the type of road on which the most fatalities occur nationwide. The complete Mississippi Seatbelt / Motorcycle Helmet study for 2004 took place after the Memorial Day holiday and coincided with the follow-up mini survey. The complete survey included seatbelt observations at 409 sites in 16 counties, and all of the mini survey sites were included in the complete survey. Overall belt use for Mississippi was calculated to be 63.17% ± 3.17%. This count is similar to the count of the complete 2003 seatbelt survey (62% ± 3.91%) as is the motorcycle helmet use rate of over 99% for 2003 and 2004.

Buckle Up.

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