Seat belt use among patients in motor vehicle collisions: Clinical and demographic factors

Catherine A. Marco, Akpofure Peter Ekeh, Claire Hardman, Matthew Lovell, Ashley Brent, Joycelyn Akamune

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: Proper use of automobile seat belt in a motor vehicle crash is associated with reduced morbidity and mortality, shorter hospital stays, reduced resource utilization, and fewer missed work days. Seatbelt compliance nationwide is 86%. This study was undertaken to identify factors associated with noncompliance with seatbelt use among admitted patients following a motor vehicle crash. Methods: This study was a retrospective analysis of motor vehicle crashes at an Urban Level 1 Trauma Center. Eligible subjects included patients age 18 and over, who were admitted by the Trauma Service following a motor vehicle crash from January to December 2017. Results: Among 766 participants, the overall rate of seatbelt noncompliance was 32% (N = 245). Some participants met the legal limit of intoxication (80 mg/dl) (N = 119 patients; 22%). Drug use was high among this population, including THC (30%), opiates (29%), benzodiazepines (24%), cocaine (10%), and methamphetamine (10%). Patients who did not wear seat belts were more likely to be male (62.4% no seat belt vs. 51.8% seat belt), intoxicated (30.5% vs. 17.0%), screen positive for cocaine (18.2% vs. 4.7%), THC (37.7% vs. 24.2%), and methamphetamine (15.6% vs. 5.9%). We did not detect significant differences by seat belt use with respect to ethnicity, mode of arrival, day of week, opiate use, or benzodiazepine use. Conclusions: In this study, 32% of patients in motor vehicle crashes were not compliant with seat belt use. Noncompliance with seat belt use was higher among patients who were male, younger age, intoxicated, or who had positive screens for cocaine, THC, or methamphetamine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1069-1071
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Emergency Medicine


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