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Are seatbelts required in commercial motor vehicles?

As a commercial driver, you do your best to keep yourself and others safe every day. One thing you may wonder about as you consider safety in your commercial vehicle is whether the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) requires these vehicles to have working seatbelts. The short answer to this question is yes. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), under the guidance of the DOT, requires seatbelt installation under Section 49 CFR 393.93 of its Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR).

FMCSA regulations regarding seatbelt installation

Buses, trucks, and truck tractors manufactured after January 1, 1965, must contain seatbelts. Any commercial vehicle built after this date but before July 1, 1971 must contain seatbelts in compliance with the FMCSR effective on the manufacture date. Seatbelts must comply with regulations established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards if the manufacture date of the commercial vehicle is after July 1, 1971. Drivers can read more about this regulation under 49 CFR sections 571.208 through 571.210.

Finally, a commercial vehicle must meet the version of standards applicable at the time of manufacture when FMCSR requires adherence to regulations established by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard.

Must commercial drivers wear their seatbelts?

Under Section 392.16 of the FMCSR, a driver should not start any commercial vehicle with a seatbelt installed until he or she has buckled the seatbelt to create a proper restraint. Thanks to a partnership between the FMCSA and an organization called CMV Safety Belt Partnership, at least 86 percent of commercial drivers now report wearing their seatbelts. Despite the high rate of compliance, both organizations continue to host outreach efforts to promote safety and seatbelt usage.

Myths about seatbelts and commercial vehicle crashes

Because 14 percent of commercial drivers report not wearing a seatbelt every time they drive, the two organizations named above continue trying to dispel myths about them. One of the persistent myths about wearing a seatbelt is that it prevents commercial drivers from escaping their vehicle in case of a crash or fire. This is simply not true. Seatbelt use allows drivers to escape easier because it prevents them from losing consciousness upon impact.

Another common myth is that seatbelts can cause injuries to drivers during a crash rather than prevent injuries. When worn correctly, a seatbelt can reduce the risk of a fatal injury and all other injuries. One more persistent myth is that good commercial drivers don’t need to wear seatbelts. That might work if they were the only people on the road and never encountered unexpected hazards, but the reality is that other drivers and road conditions are both too unpredictable to take the chance.

Make sure you have the maximum financial protection

Accidents can happen to anyone, regardless of the safety precautions they take. It’s really important to have the right truck insurance for your business, and our transportation professionals can help with that. Get started with your truck insurance quotes by filling out our online form, giving us a call, or messaging us on LiveChat. The greater your financial protection, the more at ease you feel driving in any situation.