A recent government report has given safety belt advocates in the trucking industry a reason to cheer. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2005 shoulder belt usage for all Class 7 and 8 trucks was 54%, a boost over the 48% reported in 2002.
Although an improvement, truckers’ 54% safety belt usage remains a far cry from the 83% of automobile drivers who buckle up.
Perhaps not surprisingly among safety experts, in 2005 those who drive single tankers and hazmat tractor-trailer combinations were the most likely truckers to wear safety belts, with 75% usage. This marked an improvement for both single tanker and hazmat tractor-trailer drivers, who in 2002 had usage rates of 61% and 67%, respectively.
Among single vans drivers usage increased from 51% to 62%; non-hazmat Class 8 from 47% to 54%; all Class 8 from 47% to 54%; major regional or national fleets from 55% to 63%. In 2002 usage among independent or local fleets was only 44% and then suffered a “statistically insignificant” drop in 2005.
“This suggests that local fleets may either not be getting the message, or may not be as motivated to use belts as their long-haul counterparts,” stated the report.
The study spanned 117 observation locations on Interstate exit/entrance ramps, near truckstops and at intersections with traffic signals. In 2005, 4,740 trucks were observed.
For more information, go to www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety-security/safety-initiatives/safety-belt/exec-summary-2005.htm.