About the research
This report presents the results of a literature review conducted to evaluate differences in seat belt use by race. A literature review was conducted to evaluate overall seat belt use, racial differences in seat belt use, overall child restraint use, racial differences in child restraint use, and information about seat belt and child restraint use specific to Iowa. A number of national studies and regional studies were found and are presented.
Mixed results were found as to whether racial differences exist in both seat belt use and child restraint use. However, in the course of the literature review, several items that are of interest to safety in Iowa have emerged, although little data specific to Iowa was encountered. First, national seat belt use appears to be lower among African-Americans than for Caucasians or Hispanics. Second, national crash rates among Hispanics appear to be higher than those for Caucasians, particularly when population and lower vehicle miles traveled (VMT) are considered. One issue that should be considered throughout this literature review is that the Hispanic population may be higher than reported due to large numbers of undocumented persons who do not appear in population estimates, driver’s license, or other databases.