ATA’s Share The Road tour arrives in Missouri

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Life-saving highway driving tips were presented in Missouri on Tuesday, July 31, as part of the American Trucking Associations’ national Share the Road highway safety tour by top professional truck drivers and other safety partners.

Following an introduction in which Senate Transportation Committee Chair Bill Stouffer (R-Napton) announced that Missouri had the largest drop in traffic-related fatalities in 2006 of any state in the nation, professional truck drivers with millions of accident-free driving miles demonstrated the techniques that motorists should utilize when driving near large trucks. House Transportation Committee Chair Neal St. Onge (R-Ballwin) also spoke about the efforts of highway safety organizations and advancements in technology that have assisted in safer Missouri highways.

The American Trucking Associations, Missouri Motor Carriers Association, Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Share the Road sponsors, Mack Trucks and Michelin North America, also joined the elite group of drivers to discuss highway safety with Missouri motorists. The Share the Road stop in Jefferson City, Mo., demonstrated to drivers how to share the road safely with large trucks.

“Traffic fatalities went down here in Missouri last year,” says Steve Eckhoff, a professional truck driver from Hogan Transports. “And that’s what this is all about – educating the public on how to make better driving decisions and be a little safer out on the nation’s highways.”

Featured at Tuesday’s event were professional truck drivers Eckhoff, Steve Fields (Yellow Transportation), Kent Durant (Roadway) and Wayne Crowder (FedEx Freight). 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.

“Share the Road allows me as a truck driver to give people life-saving advice,” Fields says. “Most automobile drivers were never taught what they can do to avoid an accident with a tractor-trailer. By being aware of the blind spots around trucks, all drivers can more easily avoid crashes. This information, and other safety advice, will help everyone to share the roads safely.”

Tuesday’s presentation of Share the Road safety measures is important to area motorists because, according to national statistics:

  • Missouri highways saw 1,200 fatalities and more than 66,000 injuries in 2005, according to the State Department of Transportation;
  • About three quarters of all truck-involved fatalities are unintentionally initiated by car drivers, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration; and
  • 35 percent of all truck-involved highway fatalities occur in a truck’s blind spots, according to FMCSA.
  • Following the safety demonstration at the Capitol, reporters and photographers were given tractor-trailer rides on Interstate 50. 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. The demonstration was designed to teach specific skills in order for motorists to drive safely around other automobiles and around trucks on the highways.

    ATA’s Share the Road is a highway safety program designed to deliver life-saving messages to hundreds of U.S. cities and reaches millions of motorists annually to help educate automobile drivers about sharing the roads safely with trucks. For more information, go to www.atastr.org.