Seatbelt Use the Single Biggest Safety Issue Facing Truckers

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Operating a big rig is a dangerous endeavor. On average, 905 truckers die each year for a ratio of 27 trucker deaths for every 100,000 drivers. Truckers account for about 12 percent of all traffic fatalities. According to numerous research reports, truckers can reduce their chances of dying in a crash by 50 percent if they were willing to wear their seatbelts. Still, fewer than half of all truckers do. According to a new report released by the World Health Organization, only five percent of truckers who died in crashes were wearing their seatbelts. In most cases, investigation of the accident reveals the trucker would usually have survived a fatal crash if he or she had worn the seatbelt. Truckers were also polled by Sweden’s National Society for Road Safety about why they neglected to take this safety measure, perhaps the easiest thing they could do to help reduce fatalities among themselves. Truckers cited reasons such as taking too long to put on the seatbelt, difficult to operate seatbelts, and inconvenience as their primary reasons for not buckling up.

Carl Johan Almqvist, the safety director for Volvo trucks, points out that these are quite trivial reasons for not taking such a quick and simple measure to save their own lives. Almqvist and Volvo are calling on carrier companies to take measures to encourage seat belt wearing among drivers, along with other steps to increase driver safety on the roads.

70 percent of all trucking accidents are caused by other drivers who cause truckers to make sudden evasive moves. Since it’s impossible to tell ahead of time when these drastic measures will need to be taken, it’s important for truckers to stay safely bucked in. Truck driving is listed as the tenth most dangerous profession in the United States. Seatbelt wearing, however, is a worldwide problem among truckers.

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