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Missouri Department of Transportation

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MoDOT News Release  

October 15, 2014 12:16 PM
Don't Make a Rookie Mistake When Driving Around Big Rigs
Operation Safe Driver Week, October 19-25

JEFFERSON CITY - We see it on our roadways every day - experienced and older drivers who have become complacent in their daily commute or weekly travel, zipping in and out of traffic and not thinking about the rules of sharing the road with big rigs. At up to 20 times the weight of a passenger vehicle, these big rigs can cause serious and often fatal injuries when involved in a crash.

With so many large trucks on our roadways it's imperative that drivers of passenger vehicles use extreme caution when maneuvering around those big rigs. Motorists are urged to share the road, respect each other, pay attention and avoid unsafe behavior that could result in a crash.

"Research indicates that drivers of passenger cars are responsible for 70 percent of the fatal crashes involving large trucks," said Dr. Leanna Depue, executive chair of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. "In fact, the actions of the automobile driver are more than three times likely to contribute to a fatal crash than the actions of the truck driver."

During the Commercial Vehicles Safety Alliance (CVSA) Operation Safe Driver Week, October 19-25,            Missouri law enforcement agencies will pay special attention to commercial vehicle drivers' compliance with safety regulations. They will also watch for unsafe and aggressive driving behaviors by both passenger and commercial drivers on highways and local roads.

"The intent of Operation Safe Driver Week is to improve driver behavior and performance through effective enforcement, education and awareness," said Colonel Ron Replogle, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Missouri statistics reveal that it's our older driver population that most often encounter collisions by underestimating size, distance and speed of big trucks. All motorists, even those who have been driving for years, need to always remember the following safety tips when driving near a big truck:

•         Stay out of the No Zone. Don't linger alongside a truck or bus - you could be driving the No-Zone.

•         Stay visible! Never underestimate the size and speed of an approaching tractor-trailer.

•         Don't tailgate a truck. The farther you are from a truck the less likely you will be involved in a collision.

•         Don't speed. Obey all speed limits.

•         Allow plenty of room. Large trucks need more room to make turns and maneuver in traffic.

•         Use your headlights in inclement weather. Lights make cars more visible to truck drivers. A gray car against a gray highway on a gray, rainy day is hard to see.

•         Buckle Up. Wearing your safety belt is the single most important thing you can do to save your life in a crash.

Protect yourself and your passengers by learning how to share the road safely with large vehicles and avoid distracted driving.

For more information about sharing the road safely, visit http://www.savemolives.com/.

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