Making off-highway vehicles safer

The Challenge 

Recreational off-road vehicles (ROVs) are characterized by a side-by-side seating arrangement for the driver and the passenger. Hundreds of people have been injured and in some cases killed when their ROVs accidentally rolled over and occupants were partially or fully ejected.

Seat belts and safety harnesses may provide some protection against these injuries, so the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) needed empirical research to determine seat belt usage rates by drivers and passengers.

Our Solutions 

  • Westat conducted observational studies at popular ROV riding locations in California and Florida to see how many drivers and passengers used seat belts. We observed the occupants of 460 ROVs.

The Results 

  • We provided CPSC with data on seat belt usage, the differences between the locations, the relationship between drivers’ and passengers’ use of seatbelts, and more.
  • The results of this project will help guide CPSC decisions about what rules to make concerning seat belt use. Such rulemaking may include requirements aimed at encouraging seat belt use.


Our Client 

Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)