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Safety Belt Usage by Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers (SBUCMVD) 2007 Survey - Executive Summary

The Safety Belt Usage by Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers (SBUCMVD) Survey is a nationally representative field data collection program that provides estimates of safety belt restraint use by drivers and other occupants of medium and heavy duty commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). The 2007 survey is the first of its kind, drawing upon the sample design and field data collection methodologies used in the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) of passenger vehicle occupants. Restraint use studies were conducted in 2002, 2005 and 2006 that focused on drivers of class 7 and 8 vehicles observed primarily at truck stops in 12 states. This new study is based upon a statistically valid research design that includes medium duty, class 7, and class 8 CMVs observed from roadsides in a randomly selected sample of Primary Sampling Units (PSUs) across the United States. As such, comparisons with results from previous years are not valid.

The 2007 overall safety belt usage rate for drivers of all medium and heavy duty trucks and buses combined was 65%. The usage rate for CMV other occupants was 57%. A total of 15,864 CMVs, 15,864 drivers, and 1,059 CMV other occupants were observed at 654 sites. Safety belt use was observed to be higher in states governed by primary belt use laws (69%) than secondary belt use laws (59%). Safety belt usage among drivers and other occupants combined in units identified as part of a regional or national fleet (67%) was also observed to be higher than independent owner-operators (56%).

Observations on the use of safety belts were conducted on a sample of arterial roads (ART) and limited access highways (LAH) using trained Data Collectors. Independent traffic counts were also recorded to help calibrate the estimates. Additional data items included:

  • Type of CMV: e.g., straight van, articulated tanker, hazmat carrier, commercial bus, etc.
  • Type of area: urban, suburban, and rural
  • Weather: clear, light rain/snow, and fog
  • Time of day: rush hour and non-rush hour traffic flow
  • Traffic density: high, medium, and low
  • Day of week: weekend and weekday
  • Speed of observed vehicle: up to 30 miles per hour (mph), 31-50 mph, and over 50 mph
  • Drivers and other occupants characteristics: race, gender, approximate age
  • Driver use of cell phones and other handheld electronic devices

The target population can be viewed as a "snapshot" of all medium and heavy duty CMVs on the road at a particular point in time. This report describes the overall design of the study, the methods used to collect the data, and the estimation and tabulation processes. Highlights from the analyses are contained in the body of the report.

To obtain a copy of the full report, Seat Belt Usage by Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers (SBUCMVD) 2007, contact Elizabeth Davies-Sekle, FMCSA Safety Belt Program Manager, at (202)366-2170 or

Last updated: Tuesday, April 8, 2014