Truckers join feds to unveil safety belt campaign

| 3/29/2005

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Belt Partnership, led by Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, is unveiling its “Be Ready – Be Buckled” campaign targeted at improving safety belt usage among America’s 3 million-plus professional truck drivers.

Details of the campaign and results of a study of driver attitudes on safety belts and motor carriers’ safety belt best practices will be announced at the Mid-America Trucking Show this week in Louisville, KY.

Among those scheduled to speak at the MATS event, in addition to Mineta, is Annette Sandberg, administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and OOIDA member Carol Ann Schlussler of Baldwin, WI, who is leased to Dart Transit. Two other truckers scheduled to participate are Wayne Crowder, FedEx Freight, Louisville, National Champion driver, and Steve Fields, Yellow Transportation, Kansas City, MO.

According to information from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Belt Partnership, in 2003 there were 620 commercial vehicle drivers killed in crashes and 309 of them were not wearing safety belts.

Secretary Mineta has said that statistic and general safety concerns prompted him to form the Commercial Vehicle Safety Belt Partnership to seek ways to improve safety belt use among truck drivers.

The most recent FMCSA survey – done in 2003 – showed only 48 percent of commercial motor vehicle drivers wear safety belts compared with 80 percent of passenger vehicle drivers. The “Be Ready – Be Buckled” campaign is intended to dispel trucker myths about safety belts, to promote increased truck driver usage and bring them up to par with their car-driving counterparts.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is one of several organizations participating in the Commercial Vehicle Safety Belt Partnership.

Other participants include: American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators; American Trucking Association; Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance; Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration; Great West Casualty Company; International Associations of Chiefs of Police; Motor Freight Carriers Association; National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools; National Association of Truck Stop Operators; National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; National Private Truck Council; National Safety Council; National Tank Truck Carriers; Truckload Carriers Association; Network of Employers for Highway Safety; Professional Truck Drivers Institute; and the Truck Manufacturers Association