Officials from the American Trucking Associations praised industry and law enforcement groups, as well as the federal government, for their efforts to improve seat belt usage among commercial truck drivers.
“Today’s news is yet another reflection of the trucking industry’s commitment to safety,” said Bill Graves, ATA president and chief executive officer. “However, while these numbers are encouraging, we acknowledge that there is still much more to do.”
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 78% of truck drivers are buckling up—a 4% increase in the past year and 13% since 2007. The agency’s survey found 80% of truckers reported wearing their belts in states with primary seat belt laws—8% higher than in states with only secondary laws.
ATA has been a long-time advocate of safety belt use and is a member of DOT’s Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Partnership. Recently, ATA made safety belt initiatives a component of its progressive safety agenda.
“Two years ago, as part of ATA’s progressive safety agenda, our industry’s leading trucking companies called for states to pass primary seat belt laws,” said ATA Chairman Barbara Windsor, president and CEO of Hahn Transportation Inc. “FMCSA’s statistics show that these laws boost the rate of seat belt usage among truck drivers.”
ATA’s safety agenda also calls for other strategies to induce seat belt use such as requiring that belts be of a sharply contrasting color (eg, bright orange) to allow for easier enforcement, admissibility in court of evidence that a driver failed to wear his/her seat belt, and denial of worker compensation claims for drivers who don’t wear seat belts.