Among the actionable steps suggested in TSR's new guide is to utilize data analytics and telematics in a continuous cycle to measure and enhance seat belt compliance. - Photo: Automotive Fleet

Among the actionable steps suggested in TSR's new guide is to utilize data analytics and telematics in a continuous cycle to measure and enhance seat belt compliance.

Photo: Automotive Fleet

A new guide from Together for Safer Roads (TSR) is designed to promote safety in fleet vehicles through seat belt use by establishing a seat belt utilization standard.

The guide, “Seat Belt Safety Standard Operating Procedures: How to create and maintain a culture of safety by promoting seat belt safety procedures”, is part of TSR’s Fleet Trucking Global Safety Standards Initiative. While it's not an official guide by a government entity, it's meant to establish a comprehensive framework for promoting seat belt safety within an organization, according to a disclaimer.

Why the Report Was Created

The authors pointed to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration data stating that an estimated 14% of commercial motor vehicle drivers reported they still didn’t wear seat belts in 2023.

The Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are meant to act as a fleet-specific guide to help both public and private fleets establish best practices.

The guide's authors used feedback from real fleet drivers

"By allowing for the input and experience of drivers to inform decision making in fleets, we can create environments that are best suited to enhance the adoption of effective, long-term seat belt safety practices...This report ultimately represents a commitment to the ethos that every life is valuable, and that every journey, no matter how short, deserves the safeguard of a securely fastened seat belt," the authors stated in the foreward.

Within each chapter, practices are categorized as currently existing practices, industry best practices, and easy to implement takeaways.

Currently existing practices were sourced from Together for Safer Road member fleet drivers during an Oct. 2023 workshop and subsequent field interviews.

The SOP contains six chapters:

  • Training for Seat Belt Compliance: Building a foundation of knowledge and cultivating a culture of safety through comprehensive training initiatives.
  • Seat Belt Software and Hardware Selection: Adopting the most reliable and effective technological solutions to bolster seat belt compliance and monitoring.
  • Purchasing and Evaluating Vehicle Seat Belt Safety Systems: Ensuring that the procurement of vehicles and their safety equipment is guided by informed, safety-focused decisions. This involves establishing clear criteria for seat belt safety features and assessing the safety records and seat belt technology of potential vehicle models to maintain compliance with seat belt safety regulations.
  • Seat Belt Utilization Enforcement: Creating mechanisms for compliance, while ensuring accountability and timely corrective actions.
  • Communication for Seat Belt Safety Awareness: Establishing clear channels and protocols for disseminating safety information, collecting feedback, and fostering dialogue. 
  • Documentation of Seat Belt Safety Compliance: Ensuring meticulous record-keeping, accessibility, and regular updates to all seat belt safety-related documents.

Helping Fleets Establish Seat Belt Safety Goals

The SOP contains actionable steps to help fleets establish standard practices and safety goals. Some of the goals outlined include:

  • Consider adopting a seat belt safety approach as a distinct, but also a specific element of, a larger, overarching, holistic safety culture.
  • Recognize and reward drivers who consistently exhibit safe behaviors, creating a more proactive safety culture. 
  • Integrate ongoing education and training programs that are part of a comprehensive safety strategy.
  • Utilize data analytics and telematics in a continuous cycle to measure and enhance seat belt compliance with a systematic approach that includes not only the drivers and users, but also the system designers, and policy makers. This allows for real-time feedback and more targeted interventions when non-compliance patterns emerge. 

The last point in particular is important, the authors noted, because measurement and evaluation of seat belt utilization ensures the effectiveness, efficiency, and impact of safety programs.

TSR encouraged SOP users to send feedback on the guide from within fleet organizations to help expand it as needed.

About the author
Christy Grimes

Christy Grimes

Senior Editor

Christy Grimes is a Senior Editor at Bobit, working on Automotive Fleet and Government Fleet publications. She has also written for School Bus Fleet.

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