It is an unfortunately all-too common sight – a tractor trailer, heavy duty truck, or bus is involved in an accident on one of our nation’s highways. These massive vehicles aren’t inherently more dangerous than a passenger car; they simply pose more of a risk when they share the road with smaller cars that are driven by those who don’t appreciate the size and weight of a heavy duty vehicle. Your average passenger car requires about 125 feet to stop from 60 miles per hour. The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) mandates that tractor trailers stop in 250 feet or less! This figure is important when you consider the number of passenger car drivers who cut off big trucks and expect them to stop quickly. Over the past decade, thousands of drivers have been injured or killed as a result of these assumptions.
Connecticut has marked Operation Safe Driver week, which ran from October 20th – 26th, by offering education, industry statistics, and enhanced enforcement levels of unsafe driving laws. The goal was to raise awareness among all drivers as to the dangers of distracted driving, aggressive motoring, and other driving habits that lead to serious injuries and deaths each year on our highways. During this week, state and local enforcement officials cracked down on dangerous or obviously distracted drivers who often pose significant risk to our fellow drivers.
The campaign also focused on safe driving tips for those who frequently share the road with commercial vehicles. Many drivers love to cruise along in the shade of a big rig truck. While this may keep the sun out of their eyes, it is also extremely dangerous as the driver of the tractor trailer may have you in his or her blind spot. There is little time to react when an 80,000-pound truck is moving into your lane – oblivious to your actual location.
Operation Safe Driver also focused on the basic safety tips that many over-the-road truckers forget about, or simply ignore. While much of the campaign was aimed squarely at the driving public, truckers were also schooled on the basics of safe driving. Pre-inspections of vehicles, making sure loads are secure, and having clean windshields and side mirrors can go a long way toward minimizing many of the accidents we see each year. Operation Safe Driver is a major initiative of the CVSA – the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, as well as many federal, state, and local organizations across the US, Canada, and Mexico.