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31 his/her safety belt properly, and his/her body is positioned use in passenger cars (Howell et al. 2003, and personal com- with the back against the seat back, with the head upright, so munication with William Howell, November 2004). Some-- as to maintain a safe distance from the inflating air bag, the like the automatic shoulder belt latch--were tried and later air bag will provide additional protection to the driver in such abandoned. Many of these technological innovations could be severe frontal collisions. adapted from the passenger vehicle industry with only mod- In the United States, widespread use of a SIB, the routine use est adjustments for trucks (e.g., auditory warnings and buzzers of pre-tensioners, or universal use of airbags would require to remind drivers to put on the safety belt). However, given coordination and agreement among seat designers, safety belt the differences of the Class 8 truck driver's work expectations designers, safety engineers, and the OEMs who routinely and differences in CMV driver culture characteristics, there install such combinations in the trucks they sell. Ultimately, does not appear to be significant activity throughout the truck- it will be incumbent upon customers to decide to buy such ing industry to either explore or implement many of these fea- improved, but likely more expensive seats, safety belt combi- tures into Class 8 trucks (Sickon 2004). nations, and safety features like air bags. At this point in time, SIBs are considered to be a premium cost item in the U.S. 7.6 ERGONOMICS ASSESSMENT trucking industry. Frontal air bags are considered optional on CONCLUSIONS some trucks, and pre-tensioners are not yet widely embraced. The research team concludes the following regarding the ergonomic and technological issues relating to safety belt use 7.5.4 Adaptive Occupant Protection Systems by CMV drivers: Proponents of designing airbags for safer trucks are also examining the use of adaptive occupant protection systems in Technological efforts need to be focused on comfortable safety belt use by very large, heavy, even obese drivers trucks including sensors that detect how big the occupant and by small-statured drivers. (truck driver) is, where he/she is in the seat, and whether or OEMs who produce and sell Class 8 trucks should con- not the driver or a passenger is wearing his/her safety belt. sider adopting safety belt design features that permit Exploratory work continues on these features. comfort latches and height adjusters. Educational efforts directed at drivers to understand 7.5.5 Safety Belt Use Warning Signals safety belt comfort features should be intensified. Further ergonomics and human factors research should Automatic shoulder harness latching, use of auditory warn- be undertaken on the various design and interface vari- ing chimes, flashing light reminders, or engine start interlock- ables for different brands and models of trucks and seats out mechanisms have either been explored or implemented for and safety belts.