If you've ever ridden in the passenger seat of a tractor-trailer truck, you probably felt pretty secure, sort of like being in an Escalade on steroids. But in fact, anyone in a moving vehicle is in danger of being killed if they're not belted in.
Hoping to remedy that, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) had adopted a new rule that requires passengers riding in large commercial trucks to use seat belts.
The department cited a study that found that in 2014, 37 big-rig passengers who weren't buckled up were killed in highway accidents; approximately a third of them were killed when they were ejected from the truck cab.
“Seat belts save lives – period,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Whether you’re a driver or passenger, in a personal vehicle or large truck, the simple act of wearing a safety belt significantly reduces the risk of fatality in a crash.”
A seat belt usage study by FMCSA found that only 73 percent of passengers in commercial vehicles use seat belts, compared with 84 percent of truck drivers.
Truck drivers have long been required to wear seat belts, but there was no specific provision for passengers.