On May 2, Ray LaHood, the U.S. Transportation Secretary, announced new data from a survey conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that shows approximately 78 percent of commercial truck and bus drivers wore a seat belt when they were driving in 2010. In 2009, that number was 74 percent.
According to the data, since 2007 the number of commercial drivers that are wearing seat belts has increased by about 14 percent. The survey observed 26,830 commercial truck and bus drivers at 998 roadside sites across the United States. The survey discovered that seat belt use for commercial drivers as well as their occupants was about 80 percent in states in which law enforcement officials are able to stop drivers for not wearing a seat belt (primary enforcement), compared to 72 percent in states with secondary enforcement seat belt use laws. In states with secondary enforcement, officials are only able to stop or cite a driver for a seat belt violation if the driver committed a primary violation, such as speeding, at the same time.
According to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2010, seat belt use for passenger vehicle occupants was 85 percent, which was an increase from 84 percent in 2009. As with seat belt use among commercial drivers, seat belt use was higher in primary enforcement states at 88 percent, as compared with states that had secondary enforcement, at 77 percent. It is interesting to note that seat belt use for vehicle occupants traveling in rural areas increased to 83 percent in 2010 from 81 percent in 2009, while seat belt use for vehicle occupants traveling on expressways increased to 91 percent in 2010 from 89 percent in 2009.
The NHTSA reports that an estimated 13,000 lives were saved in the U.S. in 2008 because of seat belts. While seat belts are the best defense against drivers who are aggressive, distracted, or impaired, unfortunately, seat belts can’t prevent every injury or even serious injuries, depending on the specifics of the crash. The Omaha tractor trailer accident attorneys at Cullan & Cullan have dedicated their practice to helping injured victims receive the compensation they need and deserve after a truck crash. As physicians and attorneys, we understand the difficulties you are facing. Call 1-402-397-7600 today.