When big rig trucks and cars collide, the laws of physics determine the outcome. Most often, the smaller vehicle bears the brunt of the damage.
The Insurance Information Network of California, the California Highway Patrol and the California Trucking Association have joined forces to focus attention on truck and car driver safety for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. In a live demonstration at the Alameda Naval Air Station, expert drivers highlighted the dangers of big rig blind spots and physical stopping distance, which is significantly greater than that of cars and SUVs. CHP officers reinforced the need for motorists to understand how to safely share the road with big trucks.
Trucks often weigh 20-to-30 times more than a car and are more difficult to maneuver around road hazards. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that 3,373 people died in truck collisions in 2011. Of these deaths, 16 percent were truck occupants and 66 percent were in automobiles or other passenger vehicles. The CHP estimates that drivers of cars caused more than half of the 16,733 collisions involving big rigs in 2011.
“Motorists need to know that sharing the road with big rigs requires patience, and they need to understand how to recognize and avoid a truck’s blind spots,” said Candysse Miller, executive director of the Insurance Information Network of California.
“For trucking companies and our drivers, safety has to be the top priority,” added Alicia Yandell Hamilton, vice president of Yandell Truckaway, a third-generation family trucking company. “Besides being the right thing to do, it’s good business. California truck drivers have to maintain high safety standards in order to stay on the road. We need to do all we can to help make sure all of us, whether we drive 18-wheelers or 4-wheelers, are sharing the roads safely.”
“The number of trucks using the California highway system will inevitably increase over the coming years,” said CHP Assistant Chief Sherrell Sutherland. “For that reason, the CHP is working to create public awareness about driving around commercial trucks; and thus, minimizing truck-involved collisions and fatalities.”
Sources: IINC, CTA
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