It’s against the law and it’s dangerous yet a new study out by the CDC last week reports that in 1 in 6 drivers of large truckers don’t use their seat belts (2013 data.) About 2.6 million workers drive trucks that weigh over 10,000 pounds (large trucks).
Observed seat belt use for drivers of large trucks and buses increased as more states added primary enforcement seat belt laws that allow a police officer to pull over and ticket a driver or passenger for not wearing a seat belt, even if this is the only violation the officer sees (48% in 2003 to 84% in 2013).
The safety issues are quite severe given more than 1 in 3 truck drivers have had a serious truck crash during their career, and 1 in 8 has had 2 or more. Crashes are the leading cause of on-the-job deaths for truck drivers in the U.S. More than 1 in 3 truck drivers who died in crashes in 2012 were not wearing seat belts. Buckling up could have prevented up to 40% of these deaths.
The CDC offers employers some recommendations on how to keep employees safe:
- Committing to driver safety programs at the highest level of leadership.
- Establishing and enforcing driver safety policies, including requiring everyone in the truck to buckle up.
- Involving workers in decisions about how to put seat belt programs in place.
- Promoting seat belt use in training and safety meetings.
- Addressing factors that contribute to crashes, such as drowsy and distracted driving, in their driver safety programs.