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Proposed Rule Requires All CMV Occupants to Wear a Seat Belt

Friday, December 18, 2015
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The proposed rule would prohibit driving a property-carrying CMV unless the driver and all occupants have fastened their seat belts.

  • The proposal would require all property-carrying CMV occupants to wear a seat belt when the CMV is operated on a public road.
  • The proposal would create a uniform national standard.
  • “Occupant” would include passengers and any other individuals present in the CMV.
  • The FMCSA is inviting public commentary on the proposed rule until Jan. 25, 2016.

On Dec. 10, 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a proposed rule that would require all occupants in a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle (CMV) to wear seatbelts (if available) whenever the CMV is operated on a public road. The proposed rule would prohibit driving a property-carrying CMV unless the driver and all occupants have fastened their seat belts.

The FMCSA is requesting public commentary on the proposed changes. The FMCSA will accept all comments submitted by Jan. 25, 2016.

Reason for the Proposed Rule

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 275 large truck occupants died in 2013 while not wearing seat belts. 

The FMCSA is issuing this proposed rule to reduce the number of fatalities caused by CMV collisions. The FMCSA is of the opinion that the proposed rule will not impose an additional cost on CMV carriers and drivers because:

  • CMVs are already required to provide a complete passenger protection system or provide a belt system at each designated seating position (nearly all CMV manufacturers have opted to provide seat belts for CMV occupants); and
  • Drivers are already required to wear seat belts (when available) while operating a CMV.

In addition, the proposed rule would create a national uniform standard. Forty-nine states currently have seat belt laws. However, these laws vary on whether not wearing a seat belt is a primary or secondary offense and whether the offense also applies to occupants.

The Proposed Rule

The FMCSA’s proposal includes revisions to current regulations to prohibit operating a property-carrying (not passenger-carrying) CMV unless the driver and all other occupants have fastened their seatbelts (when seatbelts are available).

The FMCSA has chosen to use the term “occupant” in addition to “passenger” to clarify that the proposed regulation would apply to any person in the property-carrying CMV. “Occupant” would include passengers, instructors, evaluators or any other personnel who might be seated in a property-carrying CMV, regardless of status.

Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.

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