November 14, 2017 3:00 PM, EST

Safety Belt Use Increased Since 2007 Among Truck Drivers, New Survey Says

Seat belt use up since 2007 among truck drivers TT File Photo

The number of truck drivers wearing safety belts increased by more than 20% since 2007, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The agency announced the findings of a recent survey on Nov. 13.

Last year 86% of truckers and bus operators surveyed said they wore safety belts. Sixty-five percent of them said they were using the belts in 2007, according to the “Safety Belt Usage by Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers Survey,” conducted by FMCSA with collaboration from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Since 2007, the survey has been conducted six times.

Nearly 40,000 commercial drivers driving medium- to heavy-duty trucks as well as buses across more than 1,000 roadside sites were observed for the last year’s survey by teams of spotters who collected data. The data collection took place in August of last year. Sites were selected randomly, the federal trucking regulator said.

Among the findings, commercial drivers and occupants traveling along expressways wore safety belts at a rate of 89%, compared to 83% along surface streets. The rate for drivers and other occupants in the regions outside of the Northeast was 87%. The Northeast region had a rate of 71%.

Some 84% of women truckers spotted wore safety belts, while their male counterparts wore them 86% of the time.

School buses and 15-passenger van drivers’ safety belt usage rates was higher than 90%. And belt usage during heavy traffic times was 86%, compared to 83% when traffic was deemed not as congested.

“Buckling up your safety belt, regardless of the type of vehicle you drive or ride in, remains the simplest, easiest and most effective step you can take toward helping to protect your life,” FMCSA’s new deputy administrator, Cathy Gautreaux, said in a statement. “While it is good news that we are making strong progress, we need to continue to emphasize that everyone, everywhere securely fasten their safety belt 100% of the time.”