Truckers in Missouri are well below average when it comes to
wearing their seat belts, a study released by the state’s Department of
According to the study, which was released on May 6, only
approximately 59 percent of commercial vehicle drivers wear the safety device
while driving, well below the 76 percent overall average for Missouri drivers.
Observations for the report – a joint effort between MoDOT and Central Missouri
State University – were taken in 76 counties during the fall of 2004.
Thirty-two truck drivers were killed in wrecks in Missouri
in 2003, and more than half were not wearing seat belts, according to the MoDOT
“If you are one of the truckers who choose not to wear a
safety belt, I have a message for you: Missouri wants you – no, needs you – to
buckle up,” MoDOT Director Pete Rahn said. “If you are involved in a crash, you
cannot be fully in control of your truck unless you are wearing your safety
The report follows on the heels of comments from U.S. Transportation
Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, who called highway fatalities “an epidemic.” In
2004, fatalities from large truck crashes increased from 4,986 to 5,169.
“If this many people were to die from any one disease in a
single year, Americans would demand a vaccine,” Mineta said in a written
statement. “The irony is we already have the best vaccine available to reduce
the death toll on our highways – safety belts.”
The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Partnership, of
which OOIDA is a member, recently launched a “Be Buckled, Be Ready” campaign to
encourage drivers to wear their seat belts. The program uses education and
persuasion – rather than intimidation and enforcement – to get drivers to