54% of victims in Kentucky truck fatalities in 2014 were not restrained
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2015) — During the Thanksgiving holiday—one of the busiest travel weekends of the year—the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) is reminding motorists to buckle up and is putting a special emphasis on those traveling in pickup trucks.
“The best chance for surviving a crash is to wear your seat belt,” said Kentucky Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock. “However, the data indicate that a majority of pickup truck occupants do not buckle up, so we’re asking them to always remember to ‘Buckle Up in Your Truck.’”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belt use in pickup trucks is lower than in any other type of passenger vehicle on the road.
A 2014 University of Kentucky Transportation Center seat belt survey shows the seat belt usage rate for pickup trucks is 79 percent, compared with 87.5 percent for passenger cars, 88.3 percent for vans, and 89.2 percent for sport utility vehicles (SUVs).
Of the 521 motor vehicle fatalities recorded by law enforcement in Kentucky last year, 347 were coded in crash reports as a light truck, which includes vans, SUVs and pickup trucks. Of those killed, 54 percent (188) were unrestrained.
“There are too many people dying on our roads,” said KOHS executive director Bill Bell. “Many of those lives could have been saved with the simple snap of a seat belt.”
NHTSA estimates that proper seat belt use reduces the risk of fatal injury to front-seat light truck occupants by 60 percent and by 80 percent in the event of a rollover crash. While rollover crashes can happen in any type of vehicle, pickup trucks are twice as likely to roll over as passenger cars.
“Seat belts greatly reduce the risk of ejection, which is common in rollover crashes with unbelted occupants,” said Bell. “Being thrown to safety in a crash is almost impossible. Your best bet for survival is to be securely held in place by the seat belt.”