Texas Workers Reminded to Use Safety Belts While Driving

For pickup truck drivers and passengers, wearing a safety belt can mean the difference between making a safe trip and ending up seriously injured or killed, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In 2003, NHTSA counted 1,296 pickup truck drivers and passengers who died in crashes in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and New Mexico. The most common cause of injuries and fatalities in these crashes was ejection from the vehicle, according to the agency. Safety belts reduce the risk of dying in a pickup truck rollover crash by up to 80 percent.

As part of the NHTSA's "Buckle Up in Your Truck" campaign from May 23 through June 5, the Texas Workers' Compensation Commission is reminding workers who get behind the wheel to wear their safety belts. The commission also is reminding all of its employees to buckle up their safety belts while driving.

Transportation incidents made up 41 percent of occupational fatalities in Texas in 2003, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Truck drivers accounted for nearly 20 percent of all work-related fatalities in 2003.

"We would like to remind all Texas workers who drive trucks or other vehicles for their jobs to buckle up," said Robert L. Shipe, executive director of the Commission. "This is a good safety habit that we all can learn, whether it's driving during work hours or getting to and from the workplace.

"The Buckle Up in Your Truck campaign provides us with a good reminder to be safe and protect lives when we are on the road."

Numerous free publications about safe driving are available in Spanish and English from the Commission's Workers' Health & Safety Web site at http://www.twcc.state.tx.us/information/videoresources/onlinepubs.html.

For more information about the NHTSA Buckle Up in Your Truck campaign, visit the agency's Web site at http://www.BuckleUpInYourTruck.com.

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