- A new rule from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will require passengers in "property-carrying commercial motor vehicles" to wear seat belts when driving on public roads between states.
- This requirement is already in effect for truck drivers. According to the agency, the fatality rate is five times lower for passengers who wear seat belts.
- This rule was written in response to a 2013 petition from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) and will take effect in early August.
Data from the agency's Large Truck Crash Causation Study was referenced by CVSA in its petition. According to the 2011 causation study, 34% of truck occupants killed in fatal crashes weren't wearing seat belts. The agency estimates that fewer passengers wear their seat belts than truck drivers.
If strictly enforced, this rule will most directly affect local haulers making numerous stops on their routes. In some places it's not uncommon for helpers to get in and out of the truck hundreds of times per shift. Though major industry trade groups have been promoting safety lately and were quick to support the new rule despite any potential inconvenience.
"Some haulers may complain that requiring helpers to wear safety belts on the route will diminish productivity. I think the marginal decrease in productivity is worth saving workers' lives," SWANA CEO David Biderman said via email.