Seatbelt usage up but not enough

DENVER — Just 65 percent of American truck drivers buckle up, but the good news is that’s up from the last survey.

According to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters, the number is a record high, as she told a national conference of state commercial vehicle law enforcement officers earlier this week.

“Though we’ve made great strides, we won’t rest until 100 percent of commercial motor vehicle drivers wear a seat belt 100 percent of the time,” noted Peters.

Currently, 82 percent of American passenger vehicle drivers wear seat belts. Recent estimates suggest that more than 90 percent of Canadian car drivers buckle up.

A survey conducted as recently as 2003 found that only 48 percent of American truck drivers used seat belts. In 2006, this figure had improved to 59 percent.

The results announce by Secretary Peters were the findings of the largest and most comprehensive study ever conducted. She credited the increased seat-belt usage in part to the creation of a coalition established by the Department in 2003 with the purpose of increasing seat belt usage among truck drivers.

She also credited a 2007 public service announcement the Department produced starring NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace for helping to raise seat belt awareness among truck drivers.

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