U.S. Transportation Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Deputy Administrator Daphne Jefferson today awarded top honors in the 2016 “Be Ready. Be Buckled.” student art contest to 4thgrader Andy Chen and 2ndgrader Jessica Hong, both of East Brunswick, N.J., during a ceremony at the U.S. Department of Transportation. (Jessica's poster is pictured.)

“This one simple step – buckling up every trip, no matter how short the distance – is the first line of defense in protecting against injury in the case of a crash,” said Deputy Secretary Mendez.  “Whether you are a parent, a caregiver, a friend, or a colleague, it is your responsibility to ensure that every passenger riding in your vehicle securely fastens his or her safety belt.”

FMCSA recently announced that passengers riding in large commercial trucks will be required to use seat belts whenever the vehicles are operated on public roads in interstate commerce.  The Final Rule, which takes effect August 8, revises FMCSA regulations and holds motor carriers and drivers responsible for ensuring that their passengers use seat belts.

“Safety belts save lives, and their use by drivers has steadily increased during the past decade.  That is great news because it means that every day, more and more people are returning home to their loved ones,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Jefferson.  “We want the protection of a seat belt applied to every passenger riding in a large truck.  It can be the one thing you do that saves your life in a crash.”

The annual “Be Ready. Be Buckled.” student art contest is organized by the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Partnership, which includes FMCSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and 30 other government agencies and private organizations.  The contest is open to students in kindergarten through sixth grade who also have a sponsor in the commercial truck and bus industries.  The two grand prize winners received framed replicas of their artwork courtesy of the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Partnership.

To learn more about the “Be Ready. Be Buckled.” contest, visit www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safetybelt.