Friday, November 1, 2013

Special Awareness Event at Wal-Mart Saturday Focuses on Safe Driving around Trucks

Community event highlights truck drivers' experiences; Extra officers in West Michigan focus enforcement on driving safely around trucks

Law enforcement agencies and trucking industry representatives are focusing outreach and enforcement efforts on passenger vehicles driving safely around trucks during the second phase of the Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks (TACT) program in West Michigan. About 70 percent of truck-involved crashes in Michigan include a passenger vehicle.
As part of the outreach efforts, members of the Michigan State Police (MSP) and Kent County Sheriff's Office are joining Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. for a community safety event tomorrow at the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Comstock Park. Visitors will have the opportunity to sit in the driver's seat of a large truck and speak with law enforcement and trucking industry representatives.
"A review of crash data reveals that when a large truck and passenger vehicle are involved in a crash, more than half of the time, the passenger vehicle driver committed an action causing the crash," said Michael L. Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP). "By combining outreach and education with dedicated enforcement, we hope all drivers learn to leave more space for trucks."
Officers from six West Michigan law enforcement agencies will conduct TACT program enforcement on U.S. 131 and I-196 in Kent and Ottawa counties, Nov 1-Nov 15. Officers will be on the lookout for violations by both passenger vehicle and truck drivers such as improper lane use, careless and reckless driving, speeding, following too close and failure to yield the right of way. These patrols are in addition to regularly scheduled shifts.
The participating agencies include the MSP, Kent and Ottawa county sheriff offices, and Grand Rapids, Walker and Wyoming police departments. Additional TACT program enforcement will take place Dec. 2-13.
During the first phase, Oct. 7-18, officers issued more than 1,300 citations. The majority of the tickets were for speeding and following too close. Approximately 20 percent of those cited were commercial motor vehicle drivers.
The TACT program combines public information and enforcement efforts to promote safe driving around trucks and reduce the number of truck-related traffic crashes, fatalities and serious injuries. OHSP is supporting the TACT enforcement and public information effort with funds from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Michigan Truck Safety Commission dedicated for this purpose. This is the first time this type of program has been conducted in Michigan.
This project is part of Michigan's Strategic Highway Safety Plan signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in February.

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