National Share the Road Safety Program Returns to Billings to Teach Teens Safe Driving Techniques

Jun 28, 2010, 14:44 ET from American Trucking Associations

BILLINGS, Mont., June 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Top professional truck drivers presented life-saving highway driving tips to teen motorists today as part of the American Trucking Associations' national Share the Road highway safety tour.  

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An estimated 12.6 million new drivers will receive licenses this year nationally, indicating the necessity of sharing the road safely. Professional truck drivers with millions of accident-free driving miles demonstrated techniques that teens, and all motorists, should utilize when driving near large trucks.

The American Trucking Associations, the Montana Motor Carriers Association, and the Share the Road sponsors, Mack Trucks and Michelin North America, joined the elite group of drivers to discuss highway safety with Montana students.  Share the Road returns to Billings for the fourth consecutive summer and will visit each high school for a day. This year's stop will run Monday to Wednesday and visiting Skyview, Billings Senior and Billings West High Schools to educate new drivers.  

"Motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of American teenagers," said Ben Saiz, a professional truck driver from ABF Freight System.  "I'm a parent, so I know what we're doing here today is very important. Most automobile drivers were never taught what they can do to avoid an accident with a tractor-trailer."

Featured at today's event were professional truck drivers Rich Ewing (YRC) and Ben Saiz (ABF Freight System).  Those drivers are members of an elite team of million-mile, accident-free truck drivers who deliver the trucking industry's safety messages across the country.  

Montana Motor Carriers Association Executive Vice President Barry "Spook" Stang told reporters at the event, "Share the Road is one of the best programs that MMCA can present to Montana motorists. With increasing traffic, it is important to make sure that all drivers are aware of the blindspots around large trucks. This information, and other safety advice, will help everyone to share the roads safely."

Today's presentation of Share the Road safety measures is important to Montana motorists because:

  • 16-year-olds are more likely to be involved in single vehicle crashes, be responsible for the crash, be cited for speeding, and have more passengers than older drivers (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
  • 35 percent of all truck-involved highway fatalities occur in a truck's blind spots (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration).
  • Up to 75 percent of all truck-involved fatalities are unintentionally initiated by car drivers (AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety).

Following the safety demonstration today at Skyview High School in Billings MT, reporters and photographers were given tractor-trailer rides.  From the truck driver's perspective they viewed safe merging and stopping distances, and learned up close and personal some of the differences between how cars and large trucks operate on the highways.  Today's demonstration was designed to teach specific skills to young motorists in order to drive safely around other automobiles and around trucks and large commercial vehicles on the highways, and to arrive safely at their destinations.  (See the attached Share the Road safety guidelines.)

Share the Road is a highway safety outreach program of the American Trucking Associations that educates all drivers about sharing the roads safely with large trucks. An elite team of professional truck drivers with millions of accident-free miles deliver life-saving messages to millions of motorists annually. The safety program is sponsored by Mack Trucks, Inc. and Michelin North America, Inc. www.atastr.org

ABOUT THE SAFETY PARTNERS

American Trucking Associations:  American Trucking Associations, the national trade association for the trucking industry, is a federation of affiliated state trucking associations, conferences and organizations that includes more than 38,000 motor carrier members representing every type and class of motor carrier in the country.  

The American Trucking Associations has led the campaign for rigorous safety laws that affect every driver on the nation's highways. ATA's overall safety agenda includes greater education on sharing the road with large trucks, increased traffic enforcement for all vehicles that operate unsafely around large trucks, the adoption of primary safety belt laws in all states, and reinstatement of a national maximum speed limit of 65 mph for all vehicles. ATA also supports limiting truck speeds at the time of manufacture. www.truckline.com

Montana Motor Carriers Association:  The Montana Motor Carriers Association is committed to safety on our state's highways. With over 500 companies, MMCA represents the unified trucking industry of Montana.  As an industry, trucking is a vital part of our state's economy. We carry millions of dollars worth of cargo every day, and service every community in the state. Many communities in Montana are served exclusively by trucks, and couldn't exist without the trucking industry. www.mttrucking.org

Mack Trucks, Inc:  Dedicated to quality, reliability, and total customer satisfaction, Mack Trucks, Inc. has provided its customers with innovative transportation solutions for more than a century. Today, Mack is one of North America's largest producers of heavy-duty trucks, and MACK(r) vehicles are sold and serviced in more than 45 countries worldwide.  Since 2000, Mack has proudly sponsored Share the Road, the American Trucking Associations' public information outreach campaign aimed at enhancing the safety of our nation's roadways. In 2007, the company donated to Share the Road a new Mack Pinnacle™ 70-Inch High-Rise sleeper for use in the program's safety and media events.  www.macktrucks.com

Michelin North America:  Dedicated to the improvement of sustainable mobility, Michelin designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks, motorcycles and the space shuttle.  The company also publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, maps and road atlases.  Headquartered in Greenville, SC, Michelin North America employs 22,230 and operates 19 major manufacturing plants in 17 locations.  Michelin North America became a sponsor of American Trucking Associations' Share the Road program in January 2006.  The 53' Share the Road tractor-trailer rolls across the country on Michelin X One drive tires and anti-splash steer tires".  www.michelin-us.com

Other Links:

ABF Freight System: http://www.abfs.com

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:  http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov

YRC: http://www.yrc.com

ATA Share The Road Safety Guidelines for Motorists

  • Never cut in front of a truck - Fully loaded trucks weigh up to 80,000 pounds and take the length of a football field to stop.  Most cars weigh only 3,000 pounds.
  • Don't linger alongside a truck - There are large blind spots around trucks where cars momentarily "disappear" from view and the truck driver can't see you.
  • Pass trucks quickly - To make themselves visible cars should not linger near trucks, and should move past them or slow down to back off, out of the blind spot.
  • Changing lanes - Change lanes when you can see both of the truck's headlights in your rearview mirror.
  • If possible, pass a truck on the left, not on the right - A truck's blind spot on the right runs the length of the trailer and extends out 3 lanes.  Motorists should try to avoid passing through this large blind spot.
  • Keep a safety cushion around trucks - Try to leave a 10-car length safety cushion in front of a truck and stay back 20-25 car lengths.  Following a truck too closely obscures your view.
  • Check the truck's mirrors - If you're following a truck and you can't see the driver's face in the truck's side mirrors, the truck driver can't see you.
  • Allow trucks adequate space to maneuver – Trucks make wide turns at intersections and require additional lanes to turn, so motorists should allow a truck the space it needs to maneuver.

SOURCE American Trucking Associations



RELATED LINKS

http://www.truckline.com/