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National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Trucking Safety Tip of the Month: Seat Belt Usage

By March 8, 2017April 26th, 2019No Comments

Did you know vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among those aged 1 to 54 in the United States? In fact, not wearing a seat belt increases the chance you’ll die in a motor vehicle accident by 2500 percent.

Truck Writers’ 2017 blog series is aimed at providing truckers with the information needed to increase safety awareness. While we recognize that roughly 80 percent of crashes involving a truck are caused by passenger vehicles, our country needs the participation of truckers to work toward zero deaths.

2016 Seat Belt Usage Facts

According to a Department of Transportation (DOT) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report, seat belt use reached 90.1 percent in 2016. That’s up from 88.5 percent in 2015.

When looking at seat belt use by region, the West is the highest with 93.4 percent seat belt usage. The Northeast and South are both at 90.9 percent, while the Midwest comes in at 85.5 percent.

Seat belt use in 2016 also continues to be higher in primary law states, or those where occupants can be pulled over solely for not using seat belts.

The Importance of Seat Belt Usage

While large trucks will often prevail in a motor vehicle accident, this does not excuse truckers from using their seat belts. In fact, both large commercial truck drivers and passengers are required by law to wear seat belts. Here are a few reasons why you should always buckle up:

Michael Berggren, a 55-year old truck driver, was fatally wounded in a crash while not wearing a safety belt. Involved in a single-vehicle rollover on December 26, 2006, Berggren was ejected from the truck cab, which resulted in the truck rolling over him and crushing his chest. Berggren’s employer and spouse indicated that he habitually wore his safety belt.

On March 17th, 2008, Joseph Karichu of Colony, Texas, was involved in a crash after his truck cab fell nearly 40 feet. Karichu was traveling north on I-380 near Cedar Rapids when he swerved to avoid a car, hit the guardrail, and went up and over the railing, falling 40 feet below. Police noted that because he was wearing his lap and shoulder safety belt, Karichu walked away from the crash.

As seen above, seat belt usage is a large determinant of whether a trucker walks away from a motor vehicle accident or not. Please remember to always buckle your seat belt before you head toward the open road.

Next to your seat belt, Truck Writers is your best protection on the road. Contact us today for a trucking insurance quote.

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