Within minutes of leaving A. Duie Pyle’s service center recently in Carteret, N.J., for his nightly run to Syracuse, N.Y, driver Yevgeniy “Gene” Bortniker was the victim of a violent accident that left his truck destroyed. But Bortniker was able to walk away unharmed, thanks to his dedication to wearing a safety belt in the cab. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has recognized his actions by presenting him with its “Saved by the Belt” Award.
The “Saved by the Belt” Award was launched to recognize commercial motor vehicle drivers whose lives were saved or injuries significantly reduced as a result of wearing a safety belt. Bortniker was nominated for the award by Frank Wendling — loss prevention specialist for West Chester, Pa.-based A. Duie Pyle — who explained the circumstances leading to the accident.
“Gene had just left Carteret at 10 p.m. and was just three-tenths of mile onto the New Jersey Turnpike when his truck was struck by one of two cars which were engaged in a race on the busy road,” Wendling says. “The car hit the back side of his left front steering tire, which jerked the steering wheel out of his hand, causing him to lose control of the truck. The truck slid into the guardrail, landed on its side and was completely demolished. It’s incredible that Gene was able to walk away unharmed.”
Wendling says that although it is federal law for commercial drivers to wear safety belts and a strict A. Duie Pyle policy as well, the reality is that not everyone complies at every moment. “The fact that Gene survived was a direct result of wearing a safety belt and was proof positive that he is an adherent to our company safety procedures,” Wendling says. “We’re very proud of him.”