National Seat Belt Enforcement Mobilization May 17 - June 6, 2021
Seat belts have been proven to be one of the best ways to save your life in a crash. Yet many still do not buckle up. Worse still, not wearing a seat belt is a habit that will pass on to impressionable youth who, in turn, will think it is safe to not buckle up.
The Click It or Ticket campaign focuses on safety education, strong laws, and law enforcement support to save lives.
Seat Belts Save Lives
As I look at our customer’s CSA SMS scores, I continue to see violations regarding failure to use a seat belt. This violation carries a point weighting of 7 and is detrimental to the carriers “Unsafe Driving” basic score in the CSA SMS. By drivers operating your trucks and NOT wearing a seat belt they are providing an unnecessary risk that you do NOT need! In addition, if you look at these violations in states that have a not wearing a seat belt is a primary offense it is the catalyst for a roadside inspection going beyond just a seat belt violation.
Tips for increased seat belt usage:
- A company policy stating that the seat belt is to be always worn in all company vehicles while the vehicle is in motion.
- Defined disciplinary action in your company policy to be taken when a driver receives a seat belt violation.
- When ordering your trucks specify them with bright orange or yellow seat belts for better belt visibility.
- Consider providing having a company seat belt life insurance policy for drivers as an incentive for them to wear their seat belt. The policy would pay the driver’s beneficiary if they were killed in an accident while driving your truck and wearing the seat belt.
1/3 of truck occupants who die in accidents were not wearing a seat belt, according to a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Does your company driver policy address seat belt usage?
Seat Belt Myths
MYTH 1: Safety belts are uncomfortable and restrict movement.
FACT: A 2005 Transportation Research Board study on commercial drivers' safety belt usage found many drivers do not find wearing safety belts to be uncomfortable or too restrictive of their movements. Once they correctly adjust the seat, lap and shoulder belt, most drivers find that discomfort and restrictive movement can be alleviated.
MYTH 2: Wearing a safety belt is a personal decision that does not affect anyone else.
FACT: Not wearing a safety belt can certainly affect your family and loved ones. It can also affect other motorists since wearing a safety belt can help you avoid losing control of your truck in a crash. It's the law; Federal regulations require commercial vehicle drivers to buckle up.
MYTH 3: Safety belts prevent your escape from a burning or submerged vehicle.
FACT: Safety belts can keep you from being knocked unconscious, improving your chances of escape. Fire or submersion occurs in less than 5% of fatal large truck crashes.
MYTH 4: It's better to be thrown clear of the wreckage in the event of a crash.
FACT: An occupant of a vehicle is four times as likely to be fatally injured when thrown from the vehicle. In 2004, 168 truck drivers died when they were ejected from their cabs during a crash.
MYTH 5: It takes too much time to fasten your safety belt 20 times a day.
FACT: Buckling up takes about three seconds. Even buckling up 20 times a day requires only one minute.
MYTH 6: Good truck drivers do not need to wear safety belts.
FACT: Good drivers usually do not cause collisions, but it is possible that during your career you will be involved in a crash caused by a bad driver, bad weather, mechanical failure, or tire blowout. Wearing a safety belt prevents injuries and fatalities by preventing ejection, and by protecting your head and spinal cord.
MYTH 7: A large truck will protect you. Safety belts are unnecessary.
FACT: In 2004, 634 drivers of large trucks died in truck crashes and 303 of those drivers were not wearing safety belts. Of the 168 drivers killed who were ejected from their vehicles, almost 75% were not wearing safety belts.
MYTH 8: Safety belts are not necessary for low-speed driving.
FACT: In a frontal collision occurring at 30 mph, an unbelted person continues to move forward at 30 mph causing him/her to hit the windshield at about 30 mph. This is the same velocity a person falling from the top of a three-story building would experience upon impact with the ground.
MYTH 9: A lap belt offers sufficient protection.
FACT: The lap and shoulder belt design has been proven to hold a driver securely behind the wheel in the event of a crash, greatly increasing the driver's ability to maintain control of the vehicle and minimizing the chance for serious injury or death.
Proposal Seeks a 4-Year Delay to the Medical Examiner’s Certification Integration Final Rule
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposes to again extend the compliance date for several provisions of its Medical Examiner's Certification Integration final rule.
The compliance date for these provisions was postponed previously from June 22, 2018, to June 22, 2021, by an earlier interim final rule. The newly proposed rule would push the date back to June 23, 2025.
Why another compliance date extension?
According to the proposed rule, the additional time is needed:
- By FMCSA to complete certain information technology (IT) system development tasks for its National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (National Registry); and
- To provide the State Driver's Licensing Agencies (SDLAs) sufficient time to make the necessary IT programming changes after the new National Registry system is available.
What would be delayed?
The agency is seeking to delay the process of directly transmitting a CDL driver's medical exam results from the medical examiner's (ME) National Registry account to FMCSA.
The Medical Examiner's Certification Integration final rule, when implemented, would streamline the procedures, by allowing:
- FMCSA to post exam results on the Commercial Driver's License Information System (CDLIS) driver record; and
- States to receive the results electronically, removing the CDL driver's role of submitting the medical card to the SDLA and the motor carrier's need to verify the driver's exam was performed by someone on the National Registry.
If the proposed delay becomes a final rule, the current process of submitting medical certifications to the state remains intact for four more years.
What is the current process?
The current process is more manual and requires actions on the part of the medical examiner, driver, motor carrier, and SDLA.
If the delay is approved, the following steps would remain in place:
- MEs provide CDL drivers with a copy of a medical card.
- Motor carriers obtain a copy of the medical card from either the driver or ME.
- Motor carriers verify the ME is listed on the National Registry based on information on the medical card.
- CDL drivers submit a copy of the medical card to the SDLA within a few days of the exam.
- CDL drivers carry a copy of the medical card for 15 days following the exam.
- SDLAs process the medical card within ten days of receiving it from the driver so it appears on the motor vehicle record (MVR).
- Motor carriers retain a copy of the medical card as temporary proof of the driver's certification (no longer than 15 days).
- Motor carriers obtain an MVR within 15 days of the exam that shows the most recent medical exam.
How long is the comment period on the proposed rule?
FMCSA is accepting comments on the proposed delay for 30 days following its publication in the Federal Register. The agency is expected to make a decision before the scheduled June 22, 2021, deadline.
For more detailed information on submitting or viewing comments, please visit regulations.gov and reference Docket Number FMCSA-2018- 0152.
International Roadcheck Set for May 4-6 with Emphasis on Lighting and Hours of Service
Inspectors will primarily be conducting the North American Standard Level I Inspection, which is the most thorough roadside inspection.
International Roadcheck is the largest targeted enforcement program on commercial motor vehicles in the world, with nearly 17 trucks or buses inspected, on average, every minute in Canada, the United States and Mexico during a 72-hour period. Since its inception, more than 1.5 million roadside inspections have been conducted during International Roadcheck campaigns.
International Roadcheck is a CVSA program with participation by the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, Transport Canada, and the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (Mexico).