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Operation Safe Driver: Seat Belts Important for Truck Drivers, Too

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 26-Oct-2007

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in conjunction with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has kicked off a one-week campaign called "Operation Safe Driver."  The event, which runs from October 21 – 28, is designed to prevent trucking accidents, which are caused by negligent commerical drivers and negligent non-commercial drivers, alike.  The objectives of the campaign are as follows:

  • "Increase commercial vehicle traffic enforcement activity;
  • Increase non-commercial vehicle traffic enforcement activity;
  • Increase safety belt enforcement activity;
  • Increase driver roadside inspections;
  • Increase driver regulatory compliance;
  • Implement commercial driver educational and awareness programs to the motor carrier population; and,
  • Increase the awareness to the motoring public about safe operations around commercial motor vehicles."

A particular focus on safety belt use has been prompted by recent research indicating that only 59% of commerical vehicle motorists and 81% of non-commercial drivers routinely wear their safety belts while driving.  The FMCSA recently launched a public service campaign regarding seat belt use which attempts to educate over-the-road drivers regarding the following seat belt myths:

  • "MYTH 1
    Safety belts are uncomfortable and restrict movement.
  • FACT 1
    A 2005 Transportation Research Board study on commercial drivers’ safety belt usage found many drivers do not find wearing safety belts to be uncomfortable or too restrictive of their movements. Once they correctly adjust the seat, lap and shoulder belt, most drivers find that discomfort and restrictive movement can be alleviated.
  • MYTH 2
    Wearing a safety belt is a personal decision that doesn’t affect anyone else.
  • FACT 2
    Not wearing a safety belt can certainly affect your family and loved ones. It can also affect other motorists since wearing a safety belt can help you avoid losing control of your truck in a crash. It’s the law; Federal regulations require commercial vehicle drivers to buckle up.
  • MYTH 3
    Safety belts prevent your escape from a burning or submerged vehicle.
  • FACT 3
    Safety belts can keep you from being knocked unconscious, improving your chances of escape. Fire or submersion occurs in less than 5% of fatal large truck crashes.
  • MYTH 4
    It’s better to be thrown clear of the wreckage in the event of a crash.
  • FACT 4
    An occupant of a vehicle is four times as likely to be fatally injured when thrown from the vehicle. In 2005, 176 truck drivers died when they were ejected from their cabs during a crash.
  • MYTH 5
    It takes too much time to fasten your safety belt 20 times a day.
  • FACT 5
    Buckling up takes about three seconds. Even buckling up 20 times a day requires only one minute.
  • MYTH 6
    Good truck drivers don’t need to wear safety belts.
  • FACT 6
    Good drivers usually don’t cause collisions, but it’s possible that during your 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.
  • MYTH 7
    A large truck will protect you. Safety belts are unnecessary.
  • FACT 7
    In 2005, 696 drivers of large trucks died in truck crashes and 303 of those drivers were not wearing safety belts. Of the 176 drivers killed who were ejected from their vehicles, almost 77% were not wearing safety belts.
  • MYTH 8
    Safety belts aren’t necessary for low-speed driving.
  • FACT 8
    In a frontal collision occurring at 30 mph, an unbelted person continues to move forward at 30 mph causing him/her to hit the windshield at about 30 mph. This is the same velocity a person falling from the top of a three story building would experience upon impact with the ground.
  • MYTH 9
    A lap belt offers sufficient protection.
  • FACT 9
    The lap and shoulder belt design has been proven to hold a driver securely behind the wheel in the event of a crash, greatly increasing the driver’s ability to maintain control of the vehicle and minimizing the chance for serious injury or death."

Previously on the DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog, we have posted articles related to:

If you or a family member believes that you have a case involving a truck accident, please contact us on-line at Regan Zambri & Long or call us at 202-463-3030 for a free consultation.  If you would like to receive our complimentary electronic newsletter, please click here.

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