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0060 Engaging schools to increase seat belt use: Tennessee battle of the belt project
  1. Terrence Love
  1. Tennessee Department of Health, Nashville, Tennessee, USA


Statement of purpose Motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. Among Tennessee teens ages 15–19, the death rate due to MVCs was 19.0 per 100,000 in 2012 (compared to 13.8 for all ages). Medical charges of MVCs for teens totalled $349 million in 2012 (46% of costs associated with MVCs that year). Seat belt use among U.S. teens and young adults is the lowest of any age group: 56% of 16 to 20 year-olds involved in fatal crashes being unbuckled, compared to 48% for all ages. These data demonstrate the importance of educating teens about seat belt use.

Methods/Approach In 2013–14, 28 schools participated in Tennessee’s Battle of the Belt project. Participating schools conducted educational programming, compliance checks, pre- and post-intervention assessments of student seat-belt use, and were recognised for their achievements.

Results Data was analysed to determine the effectiveness of the program. This short oral presentation will highlight the successes of the project, including the educational programs and compliance checks findings. Additionally, facilitators and barriers to implementation of a seat belt education program will be shared. The presentation will also include recommendations and suggestions to replicate this project.

Conclusions This presentation illustrates the significance of school-based programs to impact seat belt use, and highlights facilitators and barriers for successful implementation of a statewide seat belt education program. Teen motor vehicle injury and fatality are preventable by engaging schools to change seat belt use culture.

Significance and contribution to the field Teen MVC injuries are preventable by utilising evidence-based school programs to increase seat belt use. If more states adopt similar projects, teen MVC injuries can be reduced. Tennessee is one of three states conducting a statewide Battle of the Belt project; the results of this project are significant to the injury prevention field.

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