Is Seat Belt Non-Use the Smoking Gun?

Wellness programs for commercial truck and bus drivers were the focal point at the International Conference on Commercial Driver Health and Wellness, held Nov. 8-10 and involving top officials from DOT agencies, safety leaders from large trucking companies, researchers, wellness experts, ergonomists, and Bob Perry, president of Roadside Medical Clinic + Lab and the chair of the American Trucking Associations Safety & Loss Prevention Management Council's Health & Wellness Working Group.

Perry's company offers health and wellness services to truckers nationwide through a partnership with Pilot Travel Centers, and his presentation concerned the health benefits achieved by such roadside clinics. Drew Bossen of Atlas Ergonomics and Don Osterberg of Schneider National Inc. jointly presented a talk about the Schneider Wellness Program's development and goals.

One of the more interesting presentations was made by consultant Ronald R. Knipling. Its title: "Two Behavioral Red Flags: Driver Single-Vehicle Crash Involvement and Safety Belt Non-Use."

In his abstract, Knipling says his paper offers evidence that failing to wear a seat belt is an indicator of reduced fitness to drive by the driver and also an increased risk he or she will be involved in a crash.

He says motor carriers should regard non-use as a red flag for driving behavior, health behaviors, and medical condition. Seat belt use should be a primary element in commercial driver training, hiring, evaluation, behavioral management, and health and wellness initiatives, Knipling argues. He says it also should be a greater focus of roadside and traffic enforcement and should be incorporated into driver safety databases such as CSA 2010.

Posted by Jerry Laws on Nov 11, 2010