As a commercial truck driver, you want to stay safe on the road. So, you inspect your truck to make sure that all the safety systems are in place and working properly. But, when you get in your rig to start your haul, do you remember to also buckle up? It appears that more and more of you are. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has published a report showing increased seat belt usage among commercial truck drivers in this country. The report indicated a 7% increase in seat belt usage for these drivers in 2008. With more commercial drivers buckling up, there will also be improved safety and decreased risk of injury from accidents. These two factors are important to both commercial truck drivers and the commercial truck insurance providers.
According to the 2008 “Seat Belt Usage Study,” seat belt usage by passengers in commercial vehicles rose to 61% Drivers of major fleets were more likely to wear a seat belt than owner/operators were. Major fleet drivers used seat belts 75% of the time versus 62% for owner/operators. An interesting trend was also found regionally. The study reported that drivers in the West were more likely to be wearing a seat belt than drivers in the Northeast – 20% more likely for the West coast drivers. Probably not very surprising was the finding in the study that seat belt usage was higher in urban areas more than rural areas and that usage was higher during the weekends than on weekdays. Seat belt usage was also commonly found more often in areas that had faster traffic.
The American Trucking Association has been reportedly please with the outcome of the Seat Belt Usage Study. The ATA has supported improved seat belt enforcement. As part of its 18-point road safety agenda, the ATA recommends that the following measures be enacted:
• All states establish primary seat belt laws
• All commercial vehicles be equipped with audible reminders for seat belt use
• Vehicle makers be required to install seat belts with high contrast colors to make seat belt usage more quickly visible to law enforcement officials on the road
• States adopt a “failure to wear seat belt” defense
• Worker’s Compensation benefits be denied to drivers who fail to use seat belts
The American Trucking Association also strongly believes that drivers must continually be educated about the importance of seat belt usage. It would appear by the results of the 2008 Seat Belt Usage Study that more commercial truck drivers are starting to get the message.