Workers in states that lack a primary seat belt law are less likely to buckle up, despite transportation-related incidents being the leading cause of work-related deaths, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A primary seat belt law allows law enforcement to pull over and ticket a driver for not wearing a seat belt. Secondary belt laws (such as Vermont’s) allow law enforcement to ticket an unbelted driver only if that driver has been pulled over for another offense.
CDC researchers examined data on nearly 85,000 adult workers in 21 states from the 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. More than half of respondents (64%) lived in states with primary seat belt laws, and 36% of respondents lived in states with secondary seat belt laws.
The industries with the highest prevalence of infrequent seat belt use were construction and extraction (14.1%; legal (14%; installation, maintenance and repair (12.8%; protective services (12.7%; and farming, fishing and forestry (12.7%.
The researchers said it is possible that not enough attention has been directed toward promoting seat belt use among the 14 million workers in these broad categories because driving is not their primary job duty. They recommend that employers require consistent seat belt use by all vehicle occupations, and that safety advocates focus target interventions to worker groups with the lowest seat belt use.