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32 CHAPTER 8 CONCLUSIONS, SUGGESTED PRACTICES, AND RECOMMENDED RESEARCH NEEDS 8.1 CONCLUSIONS Ensure that fleet managers employ all available methods to provide incentives for their drivers to use safety belts The research team believes this research project supports as a basic and constant feature of their driving activity. the following conclusions that can help guide future efforts Accelerate installation of full-featured safety belts in all to remove the barriers to safety belt use by CMV drivers and fleet vehicles. encourage increased use: Focus on eliminating the discomfort and inconvenience that large- and small-statured drivers associate with cur- The benefits of safety belt use are well understood and rent safety belt designs. appreciated by CMV drivers. Usage rates are high in cases where top management is committed to driver safety belt use and encourages, 8.2 SUGGESTED PRACTICES enforces, and provides rewards for belt use. Safety belts that are generally available have features 8.2.1 General Suggested Practice Concepts that can make belt use comfortable and convenient for most drivers. As noted in Chapter 3, the fleet manager survey respondent Safety belt and truck manufacturers are taking steps to group was not a random sample of the industry but rather a further improve the convenience and comfort of safety group of safety-conscious managers (e.g., those who are active belts. in state association safety councils). These safety-conscious managers employed, on average, at least eight different sur- The principal barriers and factors that are holding back veyed methods of promoting safety belt use. These fleets typ- higher rates of safety belt use are the following: ically have written policies requiring safety belt use, include this policy in their driver handbooks, discuss belt use during Drivers have a cultural or factual misperception about safety meetings, post signs in offices and terminals promoting the risks of not wearing belts in normal every day use or belt use, and directly observe drivers' belt use when they are at in emergency egress situations. company terminals. These companies also typically require all Fleet managers do not employ active, comprehensive their employees, including supervisory and administrative per- approaches to improving safety belt usage rates. sonnel, to wear safety belts while on duty at the company. This Some operational situations such as multi-stop, short dis- consistent but multi-pronged approach seems necessary to con- tance driving and delivery environments lead to situa- tinually reinforce company policy regarding safety belts as tions where drivers give in to a perceived inconvenience well as to convince drivers of the personal benefits. or hassle of disciplined, persistent use of belts. Of various government/industry methods to promote safety Large- and small-statured drivers experience discomfort belt use, fleet manager respondents gave the top rating to with current safety belt features. video demonstrations of the occupant kinematics of safety Drivers are not aware of the comfort features available with modern belts installed on their vehicles. belt use and non-use during crashes. Such videos can show Not all fleets insist on the most advanced belts when the violent movement of unrestrained truck occupants during they purchase their vehicles. severe impacts and during rollovers, as well as the safety bestowed by belt use. Respondents also commented that The research team believes that the barriers to increased drivers needed to be convinced by statistics proving the safety belt use can be bridged by such intensive educational safety benefits of belt use. The combination of action demon- and technological developments as follow: strations with statistics may help to counter persistent myths about safety belt use, such as the myth that entrapment in Deepen driver understanding of the values of 100% vehicles due to belt use is a likely outcome in large truck safety belt use and the risks of non-use. crashes.

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33 8.2.2 Motivating Drivers The first step to benchmarking safety performance is for a fleet to understand its relative position in terms of key perfor- The research team's analysis of motivational approaches mance metrics. In this case, average truck driver safety belt to increasing driver understanding and acceptance of 100% usage expressed as a percentage. Once a fleet understands safety belt use includes the following approaches to fleet where it fits relative to the average, the next step can be taken, management strategies and practices: that is, selecting one or more appropriate interventions from the following list. The list is comprehensive enough to provide When possible, use small discussion groups when talk- options that will fit almost every type of fleet operation, regard- ing about safety-belt use. By keeping discussion groups less of that fleet's individual culture. For larger fleets, it will fairly small, driver involvement and commitment will also be desirable to internally benchmark by looking at differ- likely increase. ent usage rates from one terminal location to another. It may Try to involve family members and coworkers as much be that there is already a "best practice" location within the fleet as possible; they can be a valuable source of motivation whose practices can be duplicated at multiple locations. and support. Use company events to obtain family support and Equip all power units with belts that are colored safety involve family members. orange or another bright color for more visibility. This Describe safety initiatives and progress in newsletters type of change should be well communicated before sent home to the driver's family. implementation. Another approach observed by the Be specific and carefully explain all company policies, research team ergonomist was requiring drivers to extend procedures, and consequences regarding safety belt use. the belt over the steering wheel and exit the cab by the Obtain personal testimonies from company drivers who passenger door. When reentering the cab, the driver have survived crashes because of their safety belt use. easily reattached the safety belt. Encourage these discussions at safety meetings. Add a safety belt item to pre-trip inspections. Specifics Be ready with statistics about the actual safety benefits should include that the belt be there, working, and clean of belt use for those drivers who may believe falsely that and have both a lap and a shoulder belt. An added ben- safety belts do not increase safety. efit of bright-colored safety belts is that they are easier Do not assume that drivers are influenced only by mon- to keep clean because dirt is more visible on them. etary or other material consequences. Appeal to their Develop a comprehensive company/corporate policy that professional pride and encourage them to make a safety includes an overview, driver and management responsi- personal commitment to 100% belt use. bilities, training, and enforcement/progressive discipline. Consider making mandatory use of safety belts a condi- Be sure it includes all employees, not just CDL holders. tion of employment. Some fleets find this effective, while "This policy applies to all employees and all occupants some use punitive disciplinary actions only if other of vehicles driven by employees on official company approaches have failed. business, whether in company-owned vehicles, rented When possible, allow employees to take an active role vehicles, or an employee's vehicle." in safety decisions, thereby increasing their feelings Have all drivers sign a pledge to use safety belts after of empowerment and self-control. For example, allow completing initial training. employees to discuss and have a choice in the methods Develop a strong management "walk the talk" program. used to promote safety belt use. Employees will be more likely to mimic what their man- Obtain management support and participation. agers do rather than what they say. One way to test man- Include company management and non-driver employ- agement commitment is to have a safety belt check at the ees in safety meetings and events. entrance to the corporate headquarters. One fleet had a Have fleet management and other employees set an local police officer and a senior vice president (chief exec- example by always wearing their belts. utive officer might be better) at the company entrance issuing "dummy" tickets to anyone not wearing a safety belt as he/she entered the property. Publish the results. 8.2.3 Suggested Practices Model Repeat as needed. Be prepared to discipline your best salesperson for failure to observe the law/corporate pol- The research team explored suggested practices concepts icy to the same degree as you would your CDL drivers. with fleets with successful safety belt programs. These sug- If a fleet had one or more fatal or serious injury accidents gested practices have led to substantially increased commit- where the driver was or was not wearing his/her safety ment on the part of drivers to virtually 100% use of safety belt, the fleet can use non-privileged information from belts while the drivers are operating their vehicles. The prac- the accidents to convince all other drivers to wear their tices may not suit every fleet situation but are offered as sug- safety belts (e.g., displaying wrecked trucks on a flatbed, gestions to remove barriers to safety belt use and increase showing videotapes of accident scenes, or having drivers current usage rates. give testimonials.)