Do Front-seat Belt Laws Put Rear-seat Passengers At Risk?


Cross-sectional economic models of traffic fatalities are estimated to determine the effectiveness of state statutes that require motor vehicle occupants to use seat belts. The estimates provide some support for the theory of offsetting consumer behavior. In the case of primary enforcement front-seat belt laws, models suggest that rear-seat passengers and nonoccupants may be killed as a result of more dangerous driving by belted drivers. In the case of secondary enforcement front-seat belt laws, there is no favorable or unfavorable effect that is statistically significant. Models that employ self-reported seat belt usage rates from the Centers for Disease Control suggest an offsetting effect for rear-seat passengers and non-occupants as in the case of the models for primary seat belt laws.Early results of this work were reported at the Southern Economic Association Meetings, November 1990, New Orleans. Partial funding for this project was provided by a grant from the Kellogg Foundation to the Missouri Youth Initiative Program. © 1992 Kluwer Academic Publishers.



International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1573-7829; 0167-5923

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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Publication Date

01 Jan 1992