– North Carolina resident Donald Maines makes a living driving one of the most advanced trucks on the road. But Maines’ decision to use one of the truck’s most basic features – a seat belt – likely saved his life and the lives of others.
In August of last year, Maines was driving on Interstate 85 in Greenville, S.C., when another tractor-trailer exited a ramp onto I-85 and struck the side of Maines’ vehicle. To avoid hitting another truck, Maines gripped his steering wheel and held on as the truck collided with his vehicle.
Maines says his seatbelt enabled him to maintain control of his truck.
“If I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt, I could have been thrown from my seat and lost control of my vehicle, which could have caused more vehicles to be involved, or even a fatality,” the Surry County resident said.
For his smart decision to buckle up, Maines earned the North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program’s (NCGHSP) August “Saved by the Belt” award. The award recognizes those whose lives were likely saved by their choice to wear their seat belts. NCGHSP shares these stories to raise awareness of the benefits of seat belt use.
“Truckers, like Maines, worked tirelessly through the pandemic, often delivering critical goods and services,” said Mark Ezzell, NCGHSP director. “They’ve been going the extra mile nonstop, and we’re thrilled to honor one who has gone above and beyond in other ways to protect his fellow citizens by buckling his seatbelt and operating his vehicle as safely as possible.”
Maines drives a Cascadia Freightliner, one of the most advanced trucks of its kind. But for all its technology, the truck’s simplest tool is its most valuable.
“With all the technology on commercial motor vehicles today, seatbelts are still the No. 1 tool that we have to protect the driver and passenger in our vehicles,” said Chris Groce, Maines’ supervisor. “We encourage our drivers to wear their seatbelts every time they get into the cab of the truck.”
Do you know someone who was saved by a seat belt? Share your “Saved by the Belt” stories to raise awareness about the importance of seat belt usage, and follow us @NCGHSP on Facebook and @NC_GHSP on Twitter and Instagram. For more information, visit www.ncghsp.org.