Click it, or ticket: Feds say all passengers in large trucks must buckle up

Click it, or ticket: Feds say all passengers in large trucks must buckle up
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Click it, or ticket: That’s the message the Transportation Department has for truck drivers and their passengers.

Truck drivers are already required to wear seatbelts, but the Transportation Department’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced Monday it is extending those rules to their passengers.

The seatbelt requirements will apply to all passengers in “property-carrying commercial motor vehicles” that are driven between states.

"The fatality rate [is] five times lower for passengers who [wear] seat belts versus those who [do] not,” the agency wrote Monday in the Federal Register.

The Transportation Department found that only 5 percent of passengers who wearing their seatbelts during a fatal accident were killed, but nearly 25 percent of those were not buckled up lost their lives, according to a 2013 study.

Another study from 2011 found that more than one-third of truck occupants who were killed in car accidents did not wear their seatbelts.

Despite this, surveys indicate that more than one-in-four truck passengers do not wear seat belts, according to the FMCSA.

“Some of these fatalities involving occupants not wearing seat belts could have been prevented if this regulation had been in place,” the agency said.

The FMCSA measured the costs and benefits of the rule: "The only quantifiable cost of the final rule is the value of the person’s time necessary to buckle the seat belt, which is negligible,” the agency wrote. "The benefits of this rule are any fatalities or injuries avoided or reduced in severity as a result of seat belt use."

The seatbelt requirements stem from a petition by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.

The rule goes into effect in 60 days.