According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belt use in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 14,668 lives in 2016. The agency reports that another 2,456 lives could have been saved in the same year if the passenger car occupants had been wearing seat belts. The NHTSA believes that seat belts are the single most effective safety technology in the history of the automobile.
According to an analysis of crash records over a five-year period in Alabama, people involved in auto crashes while not wearing seat belts are 40 times more likely to die than those who buckle up.1 Crash records showed that about one out of every 25 unrestrained motorists involved in a crash will suffer a fatal injury, but only about one out of every 1,000 restrained motorists involved in a crash will have a fatal injury.
But many commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers still falsely believe the myth that the size of the truck they are driving will protect them. However, data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) dispels that myth.
In 2017, 13% of large-truck occupants in fatal crashes were not wearing a seat belt, of which 45% were killed in the crash. In contrast, only 9% of large-truck occupants who were wearing seat belts in fatal crashes were killed.
The fatality rate of large-truck occupants has risen steadily from 2009 to 2017. There were 499 occupant fatalities recorded in 2009 compared to 841 occupant fatalities recorded in 2017.
It’s not only a wise safety choice for a CMV driver to always use a seat belt, it’s also the law.
CMV drivers are not only required to use their seat belt, but they are also responsible for ensuring that their passengers use seat belts as well. As of August 8, 2016, 49 CFR § 392.16 (see regulation below) was updated to include the requirement that commercial vehicle passengers must also wear seat belts while a vehicle is being operated.
Whether you use your seat belt because it’s the law or because you choose to be safe, the data is clear… seat belts work and they save lives… period.
Always remember… safety first!