Nudges Encourage Teens to Buckle their Seat Belts on School Buses


BVA Nudge Consulting set out to get teenagers to change their behavior and buckle their seat belts by nudging them. The nudges, in addition to laws and educational programs, would encourage 11-19 year old teenagers to fasten their seat belts when on school buses. With the support of Keolis and Anateep (National Association for Educational Transport of Public Education), BVA Nudge Consulting designed and tested five nudges which proved to be very effective in triggering the desired behavior change.



To start, a nudge reversed the default choice, which is to avoid touching the seat belt, by adding a large sleeve to the seat belt to make the belt unavoidable. The sleeve made the seat belt more visible and forced the teenagers to acknowledge it, encouraging them to fasten it or actively put it away. If they really didn’t want to buckle the seat belt, sitting on it would be possible, but uncomfortable.


Next, the nudge was to make the teenagers aware that a school bus is vulnerable to accidents on the road, reminding them that the seat belt is not superfluous, it is there for a reason. The nudge was a poster placed on the windows of the bus showing the proportion size of a bus in relation to the giant tractor trailer trucks that cross the expressways. The image was accompanied by a slogan: “In a bus, without a belt, one person is injured every three days”.


Another nudge changed the seat covers to represent crash test mannequins, making the safety benefits of the seat belt more salient.


There were also floor stickers reminding the teens of the seat belt installation steps and a voice message triggered by the driver at start-up.



The rate of teenagers wearing seatbelts was, on average, multiplied by 2.4 (from 10% to almost 24%).


A total of five nudges were tested in combinations of two or three. The efficiency rate was equal for boys and girls, but was higher for the younger teens. The nudges increased the seat belt-wearing rate on average from 10 to 24% every day.


Building on these results, Keolis plans to equip around twenty coaches.

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