If you’re going to be driving your rig between now and June 5, or if any of your trucks are going to be on the road during that time, you could save yourself, your drivers and company lots of money — not mention enormous amounts of hassle and lost productivity, and maybe even your life and the lives of others — by making sure that you and/or your drivers do one simple thing.
State troopers, sheriffs and local police nationwide are conducting their annual “Click It or Ticket” seat belt awareness and enforcement campaign from May 23 through June 5. During that period drivers’ (of all vehicles) chances of being pulled over and ticketed specifically because they’re not wearing their seat belts rise dramatically, because officers at all levels will be looking for compliance with seatbelt laws.
Of course, as a purely statistical matter, odds of being ticketed for not wearing seat belts remain low, even during the Click It or Ticket campaign period. But why risk it? Especially when a ticket can have such serious impacts on your wallet, your insurance premiums, your time and your job?
Obviously, the purpose of the Click It or Ticket campaign — which was begun by North Carolina alone way back in 1993 but now includes all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico — is not to get into your pocket during one two-week period each year.
Rather, the purpose is to raise awareness of the requirement to wear seatbelts and to get drivers — including the pros who handle the nation’s fleet of commercial trucks — into the habit of wearing their seatbelts every time they’re driving or riding in a vehicle, whether it’s a huge 18-wheeler or their personal car.
Actually, wearing a seatbelt is a simple habit to develop. And you’d think that as long as police agencies, health organizations and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have been driving home the message that there’d be near-100 percent compliance. But you’d be wrong.
According to the website i45truckaccidents.com — run by a Houston law firm that specializes in suing commercial drivers and rig owners involved in truck-passenger vehicle accidents — of the more than 300,000 big rig crashes each year, an estimated 700 or more truck drivers or their passengers die because they weren’t buckled in. Indeed, because commercial truck accidents are classified as “occupational events” 25 percent of all occupational fatalities in this country each year occur in commercial truck-related crashes. And nearly half of those deaths involve drivers or their passengers who were not wearing their seat belts.
In fact, the trend appears to be getting worse, not better. According to a study done by the Centers for Disease Control of occupational deaths in 2012, nearly 40 percent of all occupational deaths in the United States caused by 18-wheeler accidents involved drivers or passengers who weren’t buckled up.
Data also shows that commercial drivers who do buckle up tend to also be cited less for other major violations like speeding, distracted driving and even running with overweight loads. Put more simply, commercial drivers who buckle up are safer, more reliable drivers overall. That’s why many trucking companies have and enforce seatbelt usage policies. Doing so has positive impact on their accident and citation rates and on their insurance rates and claims.
So remember during this year’s campaign — and all year long — to Click It or Ticket. Doing so can save you money, prevent lost time and hassles, help you keep your job, and save your life or the lives of others.
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