CHP Urges Motorists to Drive Carefully Near Big Rigs
EAST LOS ANGELES, Aug. 8, 2007 (KABC-TV) (KABC) -- The CHP is warning motorists of the dangers of driving unsafely near big rigs on our freeways. If you cause an accident, it can be catastrophic and deadly. The highway patrol is launching a new public awareness campaign.
How much distance does a big rig traveling at highway speeds need to stop in relation to a car? The answer is one we all had to know when we were studying for our drivers test, but for many drivers that is the last time that equation is ever considered, and that is proving to be a problem.
It's often jammed, much of it by trucks: Big Rig Alley. The 710 corridor from the ports to East Los Angeles, a freeway the CHP says is often driven erratically.
"It surprises me every day, actually, what I see out there," said Kenneth Duke, California Highway Patrol.
Surprised not by the truck drivers, but by those driving the cars. The CHP is now patrolling from the skies; a new strike team focusing on what the CHP calls growing trouble: cars driven dangerously around trucks, unsafe lane changes, unsafe speeds, unsafe passing.
"Any violation that would cause a truck to have to take evasive action or any violation that makes it difficult for the truck to come to a safe stop," said Asst. Chief Craig Klein of the California Highway Patrol.
On California highways the numbers are on the rise. Now 51 percent of all big-rig-related crashes are caused by cars. And of the deadly big rig crashes, 76 percent are called caused by cars.
Trucker Ruben Moran calls freeway driving crazy. "They drive like they're in the jungle. Too many accidents on the freeway. The traffic is very heavy," he said.
The CHP says the biggest problem is drivers cutting in front of trucks and hitting the brakes. Often drivers don't realize an 80,000-pound truck needs three times the stopping distance needed for a car.
Another trouble spot: "The blind spots that are within a truck tractor. What you would consider a normal lane change, is done largely without the truck driver having seen you as they move into the lane and then move on. " said the CHP's Kenneth Duke.
The effort here underway by CHP is an effort not only to enforce but to educate.
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