Good news: A record number (86%) of professional drivers wear their seat belts, according to a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration(FMCSA) 2016 survey.
Better news: New driver-assist technology like lane departure warning systems continue to reduce the risk of accidents for truck drivers.
But here's the bad news: In early 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, drivers overall began engaging in riskier behavior, including speeding and failing to wear seat belts, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
And last September, law enforcement officialsissued 768 seatbelt violations in the U.S. during the annual Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance International Roadcheck.
All of which sends a clear message: It's time for a refresher on seat belt safety. Wearing a seat belt isn't just a smart thing to do. It's required for all truck drivers per FMCSA regulations.
Let's look at 5 good reasons why everyone inside a large truck must always wear a seatbelt:
- They're proven to save lives. In 2017, 40% of truck occupants killed in crashes were not wearing seat belts. While some drivers believe the size of their cab provide all the protection they need, the fact is that seat belts protect drivers from being thrown from the vehicle and suffering even more extensive injuries.
- They're not about how safe you drive. As a professional, you're likely a very safe driver. But no matter how well you drive, you can't control other motorists. You also can't control tire blowouts, bad weather or mechanical failure. A seat belt keeps you safe no matter what happens.
- They affect more than just you. Wearing a seat belt isn't just a personal decision. Choosing to not wear one can affect your family, your loved ones and other motorists. And all truck occupants should wear seat belts, too.
- They protect you at all speeds. Think you don't need a seat belt when driving slowly? Think again. If your truck hits another vehicle at 30 mph and you're not buckled in, you'll hit the windshield at 30 mph—the same velocity as falling from a three-story building.
- They're good all year round. Seat belt usage sometimes slips in summer when driving conditions improve. But clear roads also mean higher speeds. Your seat belt will protect you 24/7/365.