The importance of seatbelt safety
Seatbelts save lives. While drivers can make every effort to stay safe and aware when operating a vehicle, accidents still happen.
In the event of an unpredictable and unavoidable incident, seatbelts help protect drivers and passengers from serious injury. Wearing one is an essential safety requirement both on the road and on the jobsite.
Common excuses for not wearing a seatbelt
Even with plenty of concrete evidence of their effectiveness, some people refuse to wear a seatbelt while working. They may argue with supervisors and give various reasons why they don’t want to or “can’t” buckle up.
Below are two of the most common excuses.
A popular myth
You may have heard the claim that wearing a seatbelt is more dangerous than not wearing one. This myth is unequivocally false.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seatbelts greatly reduce the risk of injury and often mean the difference between life and death during an accident. Seatbelt safety has been proven time and time again through testing, research, and statistics.
Lack of comfort
Some workers may legitimately find seatbelts uncomfortable. Modern versions are typically adjustable and can accommodate most heights and weights, but body types vary significantly. Also, active illness or injury may lead to some discomfort depending on where straps are placed.
However, being uncomfortable is never a valid excuse for not wearing a seatbelt, especially when there are options to improve comfort while maintaining effectiveness. Seatbelt adaptors, strap covers, and other after-market solutions should be explored if comfort is truly an issue. Workers need to remember, not wearing a seatbelt for any reason is unacceptable and unsafe.
It’s important to note that seatbelts must be worn properly. People who find seat belts uncomfortable will commonly place the seatbelt strap behind their neck instead of wearing it across their chest, wear the seatbelt too loosely, or make other unsafe adjustments. In order to function properly, seatbelts must be worn correctly at all times.
Why you should wear a seatbelt
Seatbelts protect drivers and passengers in several ways. Seatbelts:
Reduce crash-related injuries
Reduce crash-related deaths
Reduce the likelihood of ejection from the vehicle
Reduce the risk of sustaining injuries from being thrown around the inside of the vehicle when a crash happens
Prevent sliding around the vehicle when driving
Wearing a seatbelt also enhances the effectiveness of other safety features. For example, airbags are more likely to prevent serious injury or death when combined with the use of a seatbelt.
Seatbelt requirements for passengers
Best safety practices dictate that every person in a motor vehicle, including the driver and all passengers, must wear their seatbelts at all times. It is the driver of the vehicle who is responsible for ensuring all passengers comply with that rule.
When driving with child passengers, the driver should ensure that the seatbelt used is suitable for their age range. For very young children, car seats or booster seats may be more appropriate than a standard adult-sized seatbelt alone.
When on the clock, wearing a seatbelt while in a moving vehicle is a crucial safety requirement, but in many areas of the U.S. it’s also a legal one.
In almost every state, drivers who are pulled over for a traffic offense without wearing a seatbelt will receive a ticket. In many states, they can be pulled over solely for not wearing one. Passengers in the car without seatbelts may also receive a ticket if they are over the age of 18.
Company seatbelt policies
Most companies establish official safety policies for positions that require regular driving. Typically these rules apply whether employees are using company-owned vehicles or personal modes of transportation as a part of their work responsibilities or during their daily commutes. They also cover both commercial vehicles like trucks or work vans and passenger vehicles, and they may even cover the use of seatbelts when operating certain heavy construction equipment as well.
When you sign a policy, you agree to follow all safety protocols, including guidelines for wearing seatbelts, observing driving speed limits, and following road laws.
Seatbelts save lives
The first step of operating any vehicle is buckling up. An estimated number of around 15,000 people are saved by seatbelts each year.
Wearing your seatbelt reduces the impact of injuries sustained during an accident, and in some cases, it can completely prevent injury. Seatbelt use is an important part of overall worksite safety and best practices should be followed by all.
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