The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has released a new public service announcement (PSA) for television and radio for the Be Ready. Be Buckled. campaign, featuring NASCAR legend Rusty Wallace, to combat low safety belt use among the nation's Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) drivers.
Since his retirement in 2005, Wallace has moved from the track to the broadcasting booth as an analyst for ESPN and ABC Sports. As a recognizable icon in the racing industry, Wallace has lent his distinction to the DOT to encourage the use of safety belts by commercial motor vehicle drivers. In the message, Wallace tells drivers that "Safety is a professional driver's responsibility."
"This ad reminds truckers that, as professional drivers, they are responsible for handling their vehicles and themselves in the safest manner possible," Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) Administrator John H. Hill said. "With just a little bit of his time, Mr. Wallace's personal commitment to promoting public safety is helping save lives on America's highways."
The 2006 CMV driver safety belt usage study found that only 59 percent of CMV drivers wear safety belts compared to 81 percent of passenger vehicle drivers. In accordance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), a CMV which has a seat belt assembly installed at the driver's seat shall not be driven unless the driver has properly restrained himself/herself with the seat belt assembly. FMCSA safety regulations require all commercial motor vehicle drivers to use proper restraints, but in 2006, 45 percent of truckers killed in a crash were not wearing safety belts. The following are additional CMV crash statistics:
Many drivers do not choose to buckle up because they feel it is uncomfortable or too restricting. However, correctly adjusting the seat once at the beginning of each work day as well as adjusting the safety belt at the beginning of each trip is a quick and easy way to prevent discomfort. This is also very important in short trips, because crashes occur when you least expect it, and many times at low speeds. It only takes about three seconds to buckle up, and a driver could buckle 20 times a day and only spend one minute! That one minute could make the difference between life and death.
There are many reasons why safety belts are so effective in reducing injuries and fatalities for large trucks. According to the FMCSA:
FMCSA's mission is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks, and is dedicated to increasing safety belt use among commercial motor vehicle drivers. Through initiatives like Be Ready. Be Buckled., and with the help of supporters like Wallace, drivers will hear the important message: "...professional truck drivers need to buckle up, every trip, every time. Remember, you're the one who drives...for a living."
For more information regarding FMCSA and the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Program visit www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safetybelt or contact Melissa Mazzella DeLaney at (202) 366-2309.