Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Director

Bryan E. Porter

Committee Member

James F. Paulson

Committee Member

Barbara A. Winstead


Seat belt law strength (primary versus secondary) affects the ability of law enforcement to enforce consistent seat belt use, especially in secondary seat belt law states. Certain demographics correlate with seat belt law effectiveness beliefs and overall seat belt use. The current study used an overall omnibus model to determine the strength of the relationship among demographics and beliefs in the effectiveness of primary seat belt laws. A survey was deployed to Mechanical Turk (MTurk) users who were Virginia or North Carolina residents, held a valid United States driver’s license, and were at least 18 years old. Three hundred twenty-four participants were analyzed using ANCOVA and regression techniques to address hypotheses concerning primary law effectiveness beliefs and self-reported seat belt use as a driver, and the role demographics such as gender, self-rated driving behaviors as measured by the Driver Behavior Questionnaire (DBQ), education level, health insurance status, population density, and state of residence correlate with these beliefs. Education level and the sum of the DBQ Errors subscale were the two significant contributors in the omnibus model for how effective one believed a primary seat belt law would be in increasing overall seat belt use. This study helped further identify demographics that contribute to an understanding of a traffic culture model hypothesized by Özkan and Lajunen (2011).


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