Enhanced Seat Belt Reminder Systems for Teenage Drivers and Passengers

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Proceedings of the 5th International Driving Symposium on Human Factors in Driver Assessment, Training, and Vehicle Design : Driving Assessment 2009, Vol: 5, Page: 243-250

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Lerner, Neil; Singer, Jeremiah; Freedman, Mark
The University of Iowa; University of Iowa
conference paper description
Failure to use a seat belt is a significant highway safety concern for teenagers. The current Federally-required seat belt reminder system is limited in its effectiveness, and many automobile manufacturers are now providing enhanced seat belt reminder (ESBR) systems. Current systems are designed for the general driving public and their design must represent a trade-off between effectiveness in promoting belt use and consumer acceptance. Teens may respond differently to system features and trade-off considerations may be different for risk-prone teens. This study conducted research to evaluate teen driver and passenger reactions to a variety of ESBR systems and features. The study was conducted in an operational, but stationary vehicle, with simulated drives. Systems and features were evaluated regarding their likelihood of increasing belt use, annoyance, signal appropriateness, desirability, and other aspects. Discussion groups were also held with the parents of teen drivers. Based on findings of the experiment and discussions, a set of recommendations was developed for the design of optimal ESBR systems oriented toward teen drivers and their passengers.