REFERENCE: Sleet, D. A., Hollenbach, K., Hovell, M. (1986). Applying behavioral principles to motor vehicle occupant protection. Education and Treatment of Children, 9, 320-333.

The use of behavioral principles to encourage protective behaviors such as wearing safety belts and using child safety seats when riding in an automobile can help reduce the unacceptable injury and death toll from motor vehicle crashes. The most successful programs have used a combination of rewards, feedback, guidance, contingency management, and modeling to increase low use rates. More research is needed on the influence of schedules of reinforcement, social support, mandatory use laws, and in-vehicle behavioral feedback systems in increasing occupant protection. In the future, health promotion/disease prevention specialists will turn to behavioral psychology for answers to questions of how best to modify self-protective behavior in automobiles.

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