Let me ask you a simple question: what comes equipped in every vehicle, is required by law to wear, and is routinely ignored causing thousands of deaths a year?
Seat Belts. Everyone’s favorite safety device to ignore. But why do so many people ignore them?
Many Truck Drivers complain that safety belts are harmful, according to the FMCSA. One of the biggest complaints that is made is that safety belts are uncomfortable and can restrict your movement.
This is little more than a myth. Much like side and rear-view mirrors, safety belts work best after adjusting them. If a safety belt is restricting your movement, chances are you are wearing it improperly.
A common argument against the use of safety belts is that they can prevent you from escaping from a submerged or burning vehicle. While this sounds terrifying, it is much more of a myth for a few reasons.
Let us start with the fact that less than 5% of fatal large truck crashes involve fire or submersion. Take a step back for a moment and think about that number. 5%.
According to the IIHS in 2016 there were 3,986 deaths involving large trucks. 5% of that is just a hair under 200 deaths. Out of all crashes involving deaths, less than 200 of them had anything to do with fire or drowning.
So this fear is based on a fraction of a fraction of incidents that occur on the road.
Second, if you are put into a situation where you are submerged, or your truck has caught fire during a crash, your safety belt could save your life. If you are wearing your safety belt properly you are much less likely to be knocked unconscious, drastically increasing your ability to escape.
One of the more ridiculous theories when it comes to safety belt safety is that it is much safer to be thrown from the wreckage than remain in the truck.
This is false for so many reasons. The biggest reason this theory holds no water is that you are four times more likely to be fatally injured when you are thrown from your vehicle. In 2006, 217 truck occupants and Drivers were killed when they were ejected from their cabs during a crash.
Two of the silliest myths about safety belts are that it takes too long to put one on and good Drivers do not get into collisions.
Can you even think of a time that took longer than a second to put on a three point safety belt? So what if it takes three seconds to put one on. If you did that 20 times in a day, that is only a minute of your day spent making sure you are safe.
To be more specific about good Drivers not getting into crashes, good Drivers tend not to be the cause of a crash. However, that is not accounting for other drivers that would crash into the good Truck Driver. Or bad road conditions causing a crash. Or a mechanical error of some kind. None of these are a good Driver’s fault, but all of them could lead to serious injury or a fatality if you do not wear a safety belt.
The statistics speak for themselves.