U.S. truck passengers must be belted by August

John G Smith

WASHINGTON, DC – Passengers in truck cabs will be required to wear seatbelts when traveling U.S. highways, effective Aug. 8.

“Seat belts save lives – period,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said when unveiling the rules. “Whether you’re a driver or passenger, in a personal vehicle or large truck, the simple act of wearing a safety belt significantly reduces the risk of fatality in a crash.”

They have been slow to use such belts in the past. Research by the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) concluded in 2014 that 73% of truck passengers use seatbelts, compared to 84% of commercial drivers. The drivers are already required to wear the restraints.

The FMCSA is still studying the use of sleeper berth restraints, and how they can affect sleep.

In 2014, 37 truck passengers were killed in roadside crashes, and almost one-third of those were ejected from the cab, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says.

“Using a seat belt is one of the safest, easiest and smartest choices drivers and passengers can make before starting out on any road trip,” said Scott Darling, FMCSA’s acting administrator. “This rule further protects large truck occupants and will undoubtedly save more lives.

For a copy of the final rule, see https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2016-13099.pdf.



John G Smith

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Inside Logistics, Solid Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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