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IINC, CHP and CTA recommend driver safety this Labor Day weekend

Posted: September 3, 2009 12:38 p.m.
Updated: September 4, 2009 12:34 p.m.
 
SACRAMENTO - When a big rig truck crashes with a passenger car, the laws of physics determine the outcome. Most often, the passenger car 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 passenger vehicle driver safety this Labor Day weekend. In a live demonstration held today at the CHP Training Facility in West Sacramento, expert drivers highlighted the dangers of big rig blind spots and their physical stopping distance, which is greater than that of a passenger car. CHP officers reinforced the need for passenger car drivers to understand how to safely share the road with big trucks when traveling over the holiday weekend.

Trucks often weigh 20-to-30 times more than a passenger car and have a harder time maneuvering around an emergency situation. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that 4,602 people died in truck collisions in 2007. Of these deaths, 16 percent were truck occupants and 70 percent were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles. The California Highway Patrol estimates that more than half of the 7,262 collisions involving big rigs last year were caused by passenger vehicle drivers.

"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 Chairman Bob Ramorino.

"The number of trucks using the California highway system will inevitably increase over the coming years," said Deputy Commissioner Skip Carter. "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 Labor 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.  Established in 1934, the CTA serves the businesses that operate trucks providing goods and services to California.

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