February 15, 2012 | By Navigator |
In the transportation industry we regularly see the inclusion of a Safety Belt policy as part of the standard safety manual. It goes without saying that we should be wearing our safety belts given the daily exposure to catastrophic accidents that can result in severe bodily injury and even death, right? Well, the truth is that many drivers, despite signed pledges and policies, still do not routinely wear their safety belts. This month I wanted to dispel some common misconceptions regarding seat belt usage in order to address why seatbelts are so incredibly important to the health and safety of professional drivers and provide some tips to make certain your seat belt is fitted correctly.
First let’s take a look at some common misconceptions regarding seat belt usage. Following are nine commonly held “myths” as published U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:
1.) Safety belts are uncomfortable and restrict movement: When properly adjusted drivers should feel neither uncomfortable nor restricted in movement.
2.) Wearing a safety belt is a personal decision that doesn’t affect anyone else: This is simply not true. Your decision not to wear your seatbelt can impact your family, friends, employer and co-workers. It can also impact other motorists as being properly restrained in the event of a crash can allow you better control of your vehicle.
3.) Safety belts prevent your escape from a burning or submerged vehicle: Hard to escape a burning or submerged vehicle if you’ve been knocked unconscious from hitting your head. Also, did you know that less than two percent of crashes involves fire or submersion?
4.) It’s better to be thrown clear of the wreckage in the event of a crash: The fact is, you are four times more likely to die if you are thrown from your vehicle during an accident.
5.) It takes too much time to fasten your seat belt twenty times a day: With a total time investment of one minute per day (roughly three seconds per buckle), the cost is nothing compared to the potential life saving benefit.
6.) Good truck drivers don’t need to wear safety belts: Good truck drivers might be able to avoid causing accidents, but you cannot control the drivers on the road around you. And being a good driver alone won’t prevent you from head or spinal cord injuries in the event of an accident.
7.) Your truck will protect you. You don’t need a seat belt: According to the FMCSA, in 2006, 805 drivers and occupants of large trucks died in truck crashes and 393 were not wearing safety belts. Of the 217 drivers and occupants who were killed and ejected from their vehicles, 81% were not wearing safety belts.
8.) Safety belts aren’t necessary for low-speed driving: In a frontal collision where the driver was driving 30 mph, an unbelted person will continue to move forward and hit the windshield at 30 mph. Translation? This is the same velocity a person falling a three story building would experience when hitting the ground.
9.) A lap belt offers sufficient protection: The lap and shoulder belt have been designed to work together to keep a driver properly restrained and in control of his rig in the event of a crash.
With these misconceptions clarified, let’s take a look at a few tips to help make certain your seat belt is properly fitted:
1.) The shoulder strap should be across the center of the chest and center of the shoulder, not under the arm or behind the back
2.) The correct position of the lap belt is 2 – 4” below the waist and against the thighs.
3.) The buckle shouldn’t be positioned in the stomach or abdominal area.
4.) The shoulder belt should not be too tight or rub against the neck nor should it be too loose or loosen during travel.
Do you have questions regarding safety belt usage or fit, or would you like assistance designing a safety belt policy for your company’s safety handbook? Call our offices today at (800) 596-TRUCK (8782). All of us at the Navigator Truck Insurance Agency work hard at being accessible, helpful and result oriented.