At the Department of Transportation, safety is always our number one priority. And we all know that seatbelt use is absolutely essential to safety on our nation’s highways.
To help drive this message home, the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Partnership is inviting America's kids to create posters for the 2011 “Be Ready, Be Buckled” art contest. The partnership--comprised of private-sector organizations, associations, and government agencies including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)--encourages commercial drivers to buckle up.
Now, good drivers usually don't cause collisions, but at some point, a good truck driver could be involved in a crash caused by a bad driver, bad weather, mechanical failure, or tire blowout. In a crash, wearing a safety belt can prevent injuries and fatalities by protecting against ejection and head or spinal cord damage.
More and more commercial drivers are using their seatbelts, which is great news. From 2003 to 2009, seat belt use jumped from 48 percent to 74 percent. But that's still much lower than the 85 percent of all drivers on the road who wore seatbelts in 2010. And it means too many drivers are ignoring the safety data and not buckling up.
We see this contest as a good way for kids to learn about highway safety. It’s also a chance for them to remind their friends and family members in the commercial driving industry about an easy way to protect themselves from harm.
These questions might help our budding Van Goghs and Picassos get started as they start work on their masterpiece:
- Why is it important to buckle up every time while driving a truck, bus, or other large vehicle?
- How does the motto “Safety Belts Save Lives” apply to bus and truck drivers?
- What does it mean to you for truck and bus drivers to buckle up while on the job?
- What would happen if a truck or bus driver did not buckle up while on the job?
Entries must be mailed or postmarked by Monday, February 28. For more information, please visit the FMCSA website.
We need commercial drivers. The work they do is critical to our national economy. But the kids we're inviting to join our poster contest need their mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, and friends to be as safe as possible while on the road.