Truckers have a proven track record when it comes to safety and not just for the surrounding drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently announced that safety belt use among commercial truck and bus drivers reached a new record last year.
According to results from a national survey, 86 percent of commercial drivers in 2016 buckled up, a significant increase from 65 percent when the survey was first conducted in 2007. FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has conducted the survey six times and results have revealed a steady increase.
Nearly 40,000 drivers at more than 1,000 roadside sites were observed during the survey. Safety belt compliance was at its highest among drivers on highways and interstates, at 89 percent. About 83 percent of drivers wore safety belts on streets.
The difference between male and female drivers did not vary significantly. Males buckled up at a rate of 86 percent compared with females at 84 percent.
When accounting for varying state laws, compliance rates were nearly the same. Among states were law enforcement offers can only pull over drivers for offences other than buckling up, compliance was at 84 percent, an increase of 7 percent since 2007. In states where officers can stop drivers primarily for not wearing their safety belt, compliance reached 85 percent.
Geographically, there were some significant differences. Drivers in the West, Midwest and South wore safety belts at a rate of 87 percent. However, commercial motorists in the Northeast had a relatively low compliance rate of 71 percent.
Traffic also appears to play a role when buckling up. In heavy traffic, safety belt use hit 86 percent, slightly more than the 83 percent in light traffic.
Teams of spotters and recorders collected data through observation on weekdays and weekend days during daylight hours, according to a news release. Data collected included the type of CMV, location, weather conditions, and characteristics of drivers and other occupants.