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March 23, 2015

Truck Driver Deaths Prompt New Safety Resources for Drivers & Employers

Seat Belts Required
In conjunction with a new Vital Signs report on trucker safety, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created a variety of new website resources intended to help reduce truck driver deaths, including:
  • New Long-Haul Truck Drivers website
  • Employer fact sheet: Preventing Work-related Motor Vehicle Crashes
  • NETS road safety guide for employers available in 21 languages

Fatal Truck Crashes on the Increase

The report shows that after dropping to 35-year lows in 2009, the number of truck drivers or passengers who died in crashes increased between 2009 and 2012. Some 700 truck drivers or passengers died in crashes in 2012, and more than a third of the drivers who died were not wearing a seat belt. 

Seat belts must be worn in this vehicle at all times"We know that using a seat belt is the single most effective intervention to prevent injury or death in a motor vehicle crash. However, in 2012 more than 1 in 3 truck drivers who died in crashes were not buckled up, a simple step which could have prevented up to 40 percent of these deaths," says the CDC.

The report includes data from the National Survey of US Long-Haul Truck Driver Health and Injury, conducted by CDC at 32 truck stops along interstate highways across the United States in 2010. Key findings from the survey include:

  • An estimated 14 percent of long-haul truck drivers reported not using a seat belt on every trip.
  • Over 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 – the law that allows police to stop motorists solely for being unbelted – were more likely to report often using a seat belt.

What Employers Can Do for their Drivers

The CDC says the smartest strategy for overall safety is to prevent truck crashes from happening in the first place. Employers can help truck drivers stay safe by:

    How's my driving? Call #
  • Committing to driver safety programs at the highest level of leadership
  • Establishing and enforcing driver safety policies, including requiring everyone in the truck to buckle up
  • Banning text messaging and use of hand-held phones by drivers
  • Involving workers in decisions about how to put seat belt programs in place
  • Promoting seat belt use in training and safety meetings
  • Educating truck drivers about ways to avoid distracted and drowsy driving
  • Considering engineering and design changes that might increase use of seat belts by providing increased comfort and range of motion, and allow adjustments for diverse body types

Truck driving safety resources:

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