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Drivers' Seat Belt Use Rising, FMCSA Says

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5/3/2011 4:00:00 PM

Seat belt use among drivers of medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles rose to 78% last year, from 74% in 2009, the fourth straight annual increase, according to a new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration study.

Roughly 80% of commercial vehicle operators in states with primary seat belt laws used seat belts, while only 72% used their seat belts in states with secondary seat belt laws.

Primary seat belt laws allow law enforcement officers to ticket a driver for not wearing a seat belt, without another offense taking place. Secondary laws allow officers to issue a ticket for not wearing a seat belt only when there is another citable infraction.

Overall, truck and bus drivers’ seat belt use has risen to 78% in 2010, from 65% in 2007, in four straight gains, FMCSA said.

Dave Osiecki, senior vice president for American Trucking Associations, attributed the rise in seat belt usage to a combination of factors.

“One is more primary seat belt laws at the state level, another one is greater enforcement, there is greater education and awareness going on by government and industry, and the Compliance, Safety and Accountability program because drivers see the need to comply,� Osiecki said.

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Staff Reporter

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