FMCSA: Truck, bus driver safety belt use increased in 2009

More commercial truck and bus drivers are buckling up, according to new data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

For the Seat Belt Usage by Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers 2009 Survey (.pdf file), researchers observed a total of 20,818 CMV drivers at 827 roadside sites. Findings, released March 19, showed the overall safety belt usage rate for drivers of all medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses combined was 74 percent, compared with 65 percent in 2007.

Data also showed:

  • Safety belt use was observed to be higher in states governed by primary belt use laws (78 percent) than in states that have secondary belt use laws (67 percent). Primary laws allow law enforcement officers to pull over a vehicle if they observe an unbelted driver or front-seat passenger. Secondary laws allow officers to ticket for violations only after stopping the motorist for another offense.
  • Safety belt use was higher among drivers for regional or national fleet (78 percent) compared with independent owner-operators (64 percent).
  • Safety belt use rates for commercial drivers and their occupants were highest at 79 percent in the West, compared with 75 percent in the South, 68 percent in the Midwest and 64 percent in the Northeast.

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