Date of Conferral
Seat belts save lives; however, unintentional injuries are still the leading cause of death for those between 1 and 44 years in the United States. Seat belts also cause injuries during motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) and obesity changes how seat belts fit. The purpose of this retrospective causal inference quantitative study was to reduce the knowledge gap in scholarly research on seat belt fit in relation to blunt cerebrovascular injuries (BCVI) during MVCs and seat belt compliance. The theoretical framework used was based on H.W. Heinrich's domino theory. The research questions focused on the following dependent variables: BCVI, compliance, and seat belt fit; and independent variables: the size of the individual and seat belt fit. Secondary and primary data were used and analyzed using Spearman's Rank-Order Correlation. The results yielded no relationship between seat belt fit and BCVI in the secondary data (n = 97). In the primary data (n = 138), there was significance found between seatbelt fit and a) seat belt use, and b) BMI. The study contributed to positive social change by enhancing the awareness of the knowledge deficit regarding seat belt fit, and BCVIs sustained during MVCs, and that comfort was influenced by seat belt fit and had a role in compliance. Seat belts were not used by 5.3% and 9.5% or used incorrectly by 3.2% and 2.9% of the people in the primary data and secondary data sets. This knowledge may contribute to a) future seat belt testing to ensure it is done in such a manner that seat belts fit everyone; b) new seat belt laws to ensure that they are consistent across all states, and c) medical care focusing on seat belt fit as a mechanism of injury (blunt) to ensure screenings are done with the appropriate diagnostic tools.