The number of professional truckers buckling up their seat belts jumped dramatically in 2007 to a record level.

"Seat belt usage among commercial motor vehicle drivers rose to a new high of 65 percent," said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters Tuesday during a national conference of state commercial vehicle law enforcement officers. "Though we've made great strides, we won't rest until 100 percent of commercial motor vehicle drivers wear a seat belt 100 percent of the time."

Currently, 82 percent of passenger vehicle drivers wear seat belts. A survey conducted in 2003 found that only 48 percent of truck drivers used seat belts. In 2006, this figure had improved to 59 percent. The results announced this week were the findings of the largest and most comprehensive study ever conducted, according to DOT.

Peters credited the increased seat belt usage in part to the creation of a coalition established by the DOT in 2003 with the purpose of increasing seat belt usage among truck drivers. She also credited a 2007 public service announcement the department produced starring Nascar driver Rusty Wallace for helping to raise seat belt awareness among truck drivers.