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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 this Memorial Day weekend. In a live demonstration held today at Fresno Downtown Chandler Airport, 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 3,413 people died in truck collisions in 2010. Of these deaths, 14 percent were truck occupants and 72 percent were in automobiles. The CHP estimates that drivers of cars caused more than half of the 17,431 collisions involving big rigs in 2010.
“Motorists need to know that sharing the road with a big rig requires patience and understanding how to recognize and avoid a truck’s blind spots,” said Candysse Miller, executive director of the Insurance Information Network of California.
“Truckers in California maintain the highest standards of safety and need the help of passenger drivers to keep the roads safe,” added CTA President Scott Blevins. “Accidents hurt people and hurt business, so with the help of our partners in passenger vehicles we can keep ourselves and our families safe on the road and California’s economy rolling along.”
“The number of trucks using the California highway system will inevitably increase over the coming years,” said CHP Assistant Chief Kyle Scarber. “For that reason, the CHP is working to create public awareness about driving around commercial trucks; and thus, minimizing truck-involved collisions and fatalities.”
The CHP urges motorists to understand these basics of sharing the road with big rigs this Memorial Day Weekend:
- Allow plenty of room when changing lanes in front of a truck;
- Pass trucks quickly and don’t linger beside a truck;
- Pass a truck on the left, not on the right, because the truck's blind spot on the right runs the length of the trailer and extends out three lanes.
- Allow a lot of room around trucks. Try to leave a 10-car length gap when in front of a truck and 20-25 car lengths when behind a truck.
- Check a truck's mirrors. If you are following a truck and you cannot see the driver's face in the truck's side mirrors, the truck driver cannot see you.
- Allow trucks adequate space to maneuver. Trucks make wide turns at intersections and require additional lanes to turn.
IINC is a nonprofit, non-lobbying communications association representing the property/casualty insurance industry. For more information, visit our Web site at www.iinc.org.
Established in 1934, the CTA serves the businesses that operate trucks providing goods and services to California. More information is available on our Web site at www.caltrux.com.
For more information about the CHP, visit our Web site at www.chp.ca.gov.
California Trucking Association
California Highway Patrol