Seatbelt usage: Is there an association with obesity?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Wearing a seatbelt can prevent motor vehicle crash deaths. While primary seatbelt laws are designed to encourage vehicle passengers to wear seatbelts by allowing law enforcement officers to issue tickets when passengers do not wear seatbelts, discomfort may discourage obese individuals from wearing a seatbelt. The objective of this study is to assess the association between state-level obesity and seatbelt usage rates in the US, and to examine the possible role played by seatbelt laws in these associations. The strength of the association between obesity rates, seatbelt usage, and primary seatbelt laws at the state level is investigated using data from 2006 to 2011. Linear regression analysis is employed. This model estimates that increasing the obesity rate by 1% in a state where a primary seatbelt law (by which law enforcement officers can issue a ticketwhen seatbelts are not worn) is in effect is associated with a 0.06% decrease inseatbelt usage. However the same percentage of increase in the obesity rate in a state where no primary seatbelt law is in effect is associated with a 0.55% decrease in seatbelt usage. The magnitude of the statistical association between state obesity rates and state-level seatbelt usage is related to the existence of a primary seatbelt law, such that obesity has less impact on seatbelt usage in states where primary seatbelt laws are in effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)799-803
Number of pages5
JournalPublic Health
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014


  • Obesity
  • Public health
  • Seatbelt laws
  • Seatbelt usage
  • Statistics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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