Study Shows Many Truckers Are Not Buckling Up - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

12/27/03

Study Shows Many Truckers Are Not Buckling Up

The Flying J Travel Plaza is filled with truckers who spend hundreds of hours transporting an estimated 7-trillion dollars worth of products we consume on a daily basis.

While the trucking business depends on getting these products to their destinations, very few truck drivers forget to consider their own safety through the simple click of a seatbelt.

"I've seen truck drivers being thrown, I've seen people in cars being thrown. Even though I wouldn't say I was raised with it , it wasn't a big issue back when I was a kid but now that I'm driving myself I won't get in a vehicle without it," said trucker Jeff Pipich.

A new study by the U.S. Department of Transportation finds less than half of truck drivers wear seatbelts, prompting the government and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, to launch an awareness program to bring those numbers down.

"Safety belts are the best protection available in a crash. They help prevent injuries and death," said U.S. Transportation secretary Norman Mineta.

According to Department of Transportation figures, the low number of truck drivers buckling up has taken a toll. Of the 588 commercial drivers killed in crashes last year, more than half were not wearing safety belts. Of the 171 drivers who were thrown from their trucks, almost 80 percent of them were not wearing safety belts.

"Our primary goal is to reduce commercial motor vehicle related fatalities and injuries. For the last 5 years we've seen a decrease in large truck related fatalities. This nationwide initiative will help us continue that momentum," said Federal Motor Carrier administrator Annette Sandberg

The partnership will focus on educating truck drivers about seat belt usage at 12-hundred truck stops throughout the nation.

Officials say if everyone buckled up, an estimated 15-thousand lives could be saved each year.

By Karla Redditte

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