WASHINGTON, DC – In 2005, a coach was traveling down I-85 towards Atlanta when a right front tire failed. The event jarred the driver out of the driver seat and into the stepwell thereby placing the driver in a logistically challenging position to control the coach. The now driverless coach crossed several lanes, climbed an embankment, and wedged under an overpass.
Fortunately, there were no fatalities but there were injuries, some severe. One passenger required multiple surgeries and likely carries scars to this day.
By all accounts, the driver was a good driver but he had been reprimanded by company management in the past for not wearing his seatbelt.
According to the latest data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 64% of truck drivers killed in crashes of large trucks were not wearing a seat belt. That compares with 59% in 2019 and 44% in 2020. While the long-haul trucking industry has numbers large enough to study, we can likely conclude our similar culture may be seeing a decline in drivers buckling up every time.
Deaths of large-truck occupants (drivers or passengers) reveals that 42.6% were wearing a seat belt. Of those who were not, nearly 75% were totally ejected from the truck. I can readily recall two crashes where the driver was ejected out of the front of the coach only to be run over by the coach.
This is Driver Safety 101 – buckle up this time and every time. Everyone is busy right now but take a few moments and remind your drivers we value their contributions and want both passengers and drivers to arrive at their destinations safely and return home.
A company policy requiring drivers to buckle up is an easy step in your safety and compliance efforts.