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Seat Belt Use | Mesilla Valley Transportation

Written by Joe Zimmerly

Jun 25, 2021

06/25/2021

The Importance of Wearing a Seat Belt as a Truck Driver

A study conducted by the U.S Department of Transportation shows that seat belt usage has increased from 54% to 86% over the last few years. According to the most recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 37,133 lives were lost on American roadways. Statistics show that 38% of those lives were drivers of Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs) killed in crashes who were not wearing a seat belt. The effectiveness of a seat belt decreases if worn improperly.

Let’s go over the importance of seat belt use for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. By law, CMV drivers must use safety belts. Section 392.16 of the FMCSR states:

“A commercial motor vehicle that has a seat belt assembly installed at the driver’s seat shall not be driven unless the driver has properly restrained him or herself with the seat belt assembly.”

Always wear your seatbelt correctly. Do not wear the shoulder straps under your arms, behind your back, too snug, or let it rub against your neck.

Seat belts are designed to effectively spread the stress and impact of force from a crash to the stronger and broader areas of the body, such as the hips and shoulders, thereby limiting injuries. In addition, the safety belt prevents the driver from being ejected from the CMV. 

Seat belts prevent serious damage and injuries because buckled drivers are better able to control their vehicles in emergencies. 

Suppose a truck driver gets in a frontal collision going 30 miles per hour not wearing a seat belt. They will continue to move toward the point of impact at the same speed even though that vehicle begins to stop once impact occurs. This is because when unrestrained, your body will absorb the energy of the crash, whereas, for a restrained occupant, the outside force will be met by a seat belt. Unfortunately, most people don’t know how much force a moving vehicle has.

Consider this: A car going 40 miles per hour would hit a tree with the same force as hitting the ground after falling off a 50-foot cliff. A person inside the car would hit the windshield with the same force as hitting the ground after a fall from a five-story building. Now imagine the impact that an 80,000 lb truck would have.

Properly maintaining your seat belt is essential. Inspect that it is functioning correctly and that no worn or broken components need repair or replacement.

Refusing to wear your seat belt is like refusing a free insurance policy. If you feel restricted by a seat belt, imagine how you might feel if you were confined to a hospital bed or a wheelchair because you chose not to wear one! 

Your loved ones want you back home. Consider how your life would change if you decided not to wear your seat belt and were involved in a crash. Ask yourself, will the insurance cover you, and what kind of disciplinary action will you be subject to for not wearing a seat belt? 

You may think they will prevent you from escaping from a burning CMV, but seat belts can keep you from being knocked unconscious, thus improving your chances of escape.

Not wearing a seat belt is a personal decision that does affect you and others. It’s the law. Federal regulations require CMV drivers to wear a seat belt. It’s your last line of defense when involved in a crash.

Seat belt use remains one of the cheapest, easiest, and most important means to protect commercial motor vehicle drivers.

We don’t need the law to remind you to wear a seat belt. It’s simple. Wearing it can save your life.

For more information contact your Safety Department. 

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