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Driving with Dave: Safety Is a Snap

By on January 1, 2008

I consider myself a professional trucker, and I take great pride in it. As such, I strive to perform my duties and responsibilities conscientiously. That’s why I always wear a seat belt.

Seat belt laws and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations are not my motivation. I buckle up because there is no question that seat belts save lives and prevent serious injuries. I have been on accident scenes where drivers have died due to injuries from being tossed about inside their vehicles or ejected from their truck. Believe me, these are visions that stay with you.

The purpose of a seat belt is to securely retain people in their seats, keep as little contact as possible between them and the vehicle interior, and reduce the risk of ejection. What’s more, seat belts help keep drivers in position behind the wheel, which can increase their ability to maintain control of the vehicle in the event of a crash. So, why aren’t all drivers wearing them? That’s beyond my understanding.

No doubt many of you know you are a courteous, safe driver. You may believe that your chances of being involved in an accident are slim. But not everyone with whom we share the roadways is safety conscious. And accidents can result from a tire blowout, some type of mechanical failure or inclement weather.

I know truckers who don’t wear seat belts because they are uncomfortable and restrict their movements. I question if they’re taking the time to correctly adjust their belts. Even so, what’s a little discomfort compared to dying?

Then there’s the “I’d rather be thrown clear in a crash” nonsense. Research shows that ejected occupants are four times more likely to be killed than those who remain inside their vehicle, securely held by their seat belt. Think about it: If you are thrown from a vehicle, you may go through the windshield, be tossed into incoming traffic, be scraped along the pavement or be crushed or pinned by your own vehicle or another one.

Another pretty lame excuse that I hear, especially from drivers who do a lot of “peddling” (pickup and deliveries) is that it is time-consuming to buckle and unbuckle numerous times during the day. I’d wager that most of you lock your truck when you leave it. That’s inconvenient and burdensome, yet you do it because there is a benefit. I’d further bet that you don’t think about locking your truck when you leave it, nor do you think about the few seconds it takes to complete this task. That’s because locking your truck has become a habit. The same holds true for buckling up.

Imagine the impact on your family and friends learning that you were severely injured or, heaven forbid, killed in an incident because you didn’t have a seat belt on. Why take a chance? The roadways are dangerous enough. Buckle up — each and every time you drive.

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