Posted in: Safety,
by Gregg Laskoski on Jul 22, 2013 02:30 PM
Passenger vehicles cutting off commercial vehicles? Buses? 18-wheelers? Nothing good can come of that. But obviously too many of us feel compelled to ignore the laws of physics and imperil ourselves and those around us.
In the last five years on Maryland roads, 299 people died and 12,951 people were injured in crashes involving passenger vehicles and a large commercial truck or cross-country bus, said State Police Capt. Norman "Bill" Dofflemyer, who commands the commercial vehicle enforcement division.
I'll give you one guess on who was at fault most of the time...
According to a report by the Baltimore Sun, last year, in 80 percent of accidents involving a car and truck, primary fault belonged to the car driver, state statistics show. During that time, police officers issued 400,000 tickets and warnings for aggressive driving.
That's why state and federal transportation and law enforcement officials have begun a summer initiative as part of the Smooth Operator program aimed at motorists who tailgate, speed and cut off big commercial vehicles.
More than 50 law enforcement agencies across the state will be part of the campaign, which also will include billboards and social media.
In their desire to get ahead of slower-moving trucks, motorists abandon safe practices they have been taught. The problem is exacerbated when road rage becomes part of the mix, he said.
"The idea of teaching the other guy a lesson is not worth it and is totally unacceptable," Dofflemyer said.
Professional truck drivers say it's what they can't see that often leads to trouble on the highway. Blind spots that angle out from the truck's side mirrors to the back bumper and about three lanes wide often prevent them from seeing approaching traffic.
Another blind spot exists at the back of the truck.
"If you can't see a truck's side mirrors, the driver can't see you," said Louis Campion, president of the Maryland Motor Truck Association.