Fleet Safety

Seatbelt Noncompliance Linked to Other Unsafe Actions

The CDC is calling on employers and government agencies to address the lagging level of seat belt compliance among truck drivers.
By: | March 27, 2015

Crashes are the leading cause of occupational deaths among U.S. truck drivers, says the government. Many of those might have been preventable.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a Vital Signs report detailing the latest statistics.

“After dropping to 35-year lows in 2009, the number of crash fatalities of truck drivers or their passengers increased between 2009 and 2012,” the report stated. “Approximately 700 drivers of large trucks or their passengers died in crashes in 2012, and an estimated 26,000 were injured. About 65 percent of on-the-job deaths of truck drivers in 2012 were the result of a motor vehicle crash. More than a third of the drivers who died were not wearing a seat belt.”

The CDC is calling on employers and government agencies to step up seat belt use among truck drivers through strong safety programs and better enforcement of state and federal laws.

Included in the report is data from the National Survey of U.S. Long-Haul Truck Driver Health and Injury conducted by the CDC at 32 truck stops along interstate highways in 2010. Key findings include:

  • An estimated 14 percent of long-haul truck drivers reported not using a seat belt on every trip.
  • More than one-third of long-haul truck drivers had been involved in one or more serious crashes during their driving careers.
  • Long-haul truck drivers who reported not wearing seat belts also tended to engage in other unsafe driving behaviors such as speeding and committing moving violations. They were also more likely to work for an employer that did not have a written workplace safety program.
  • Long-haul truck drivers who lived in a state with a primary seat belt law that allows police to stop motorists solely for not wearing a seat belt were more likely to report often using a seat belt.

Nancy Grover is the president of NMG Consulting and the Editor of Workers' Compensation Report, a publication of our parent company, LRP Publications. She can be reached at [email protected].

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