April 2017 News Letter

SEAT BELT SAFETY

Safety belts are not just for light-vehicle drivers and occupants, but must also be worn by Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) drivers.

Though some drivers may have excuses for not buckling up, such as thinking the belt is uncomfortable, the data is clear that wearing your safety belt can save your life. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) reported that 23 percent of combination truck, single-vehicle crashes involved the driver not wearing a safety belt. A Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) naturalistic study of truck driver safety belt use found that in baseline events (i.e., non-crash), 39.6 percent of drivers were unbelted. However, in incidents, that number jumped to 66.5 percent indicating that not wearing a safety belt may be indicative of other risky driving behaviors.

TIP #1: Always Wear Your Safety Belt

It is critical that when you are driving, either short distances or on long trips, you should always wear your safety belt. It is also critical that if you have a passenger, he/she should buckle up as well. In case of a sudden stop or crash, a safety belt will keep you secured to the seat, helping prevent injury or death that may occur from you being thrown from your seat into the steering wheel, dash, or windshield. From 2001 data, NHTSA reported that 60 percent of all passengers killed in traffic crashes were unrestrained.

Did You Know? Wearing your safety belt is the law, and violations are subject to monetary fines? Section 392.16 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) Regulations indicates that a CMV which has a seat belt assembly installed at the driver's seat shall not be driven unless the driver has properly restrained himself/herself with the seat belt assembly.

TIP #2: Safety Belts Prevent Ejection from a Vehicle in a Crash

            Many people mistakenly believe it's better to be thrown clear of the wreckage in the event of a crash, but this could not be further from the truth. The fact is an occupant is four times as likely to be fatally injured when thrown from the vehicle. In 2006, 217 truck occupants and drivers died when they were ejected from their cabs during a crash.

Did You Know? When you are not wearing a safety belt, your chances of being killed are almost 25 times higher if you are thrown from a vehicle in a crash. Safety belts can keep you from being thrown through the windshield, from being dragged and scraped along the ground, or from being crushed by your own truck or another vehicle.

TIP #3: Even the Best Drivers Need to Wear Safety Belts at All Times

 

While good drivers do not usually cause accidents, it is possible that during your driving career you will be involved in a crash caused by a bad driver, bad weather, mechanical failure, or tire blowout. Wearing a safety belt prevents injuries and fatalities by preventing ejection and by protecting your head and spinal cord.