Drivers on our nation's roads are often in a hurry. Whether they're driving to work, like so many of us, or driving for work, like America's truckers, most of us could use a few extra hours – or even minutes – in our day.
But here at DOT, we know that--wherever you're going--the most valuable three seconds of every trip is the time it takes to fasten your safety belt. It’s time worth taking no matter how rushed we are.
And to help spread that important message to truck and bus drivers, the DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration takes part in a Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Partnership to host a "Be Ready. Be Buckled" children's art contest each year. This year's contest runs through Friday, March 1.
Each year, we ask kids everywhere to use their artwork to show truck and bus drivers that safety belts save lives. Each year, America's kids respond with terrific, safety-minded entries.
And for good reason. Safety belts are the single most effective injury prevention component of highway vehicles today.
A 2007 review of unbelted commercial motor vehicle driver fatalities and serious injuries indicated that 39 percent of those deaths could have been prevented by safety belt use. As many as 81 percent of moderately to seriously injured drivers could have sustained less severe injuries if they were buckled up.
Shaving the few seconds it takes to buckle up from your overall drive time doesn't mean very much if you don't arrive safely. The 78 percent of America's commercial drivers who buckle up behind the wheel get that.
And the kids who enter the "Be Ready. Be Buckled" competition get it, too.
Now, March 1 is still more than three weeks away. That's plenty of time to encourage someone you know to enter this year's contest. For more information, you can visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's website.
The 2013 winners will be honored at an awards ceremony at DOT Headquarters in early May. Also that afternoon, winners will attend a special program at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall.
But the real reward for all contestants is helping our nation's commercial drivers recognize that the three seconds it takes to fasten a safety belt are the most important three seconds of every trip.