SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — “Respect the load. Share the road,” that is the message seen across Missouri to encourage safe driving near large vehicles.
In turn, commercial motor vehicle drivers will be reminded to obey traffic laws, use their seat belts, slow down and pay attention.
Last year, 146 people were killed in accidents involving a CMV with nearly 80% being drivers or passengers of smaller vehicles. Tractor trailers make up 20% of Missouri’s interstate traffic. When crashes involving these vehicles happen, the disproportionate size of the large truck versus a car means those crashes can often lead to serious injury or death.
Research shows that in the majority of these crashes, drivers of passenger cars unnecessarily endanger themselves by not paying attention and driving aggressively around big rigs. That’s why traffic engineer Cindy Dunnaway says it’s so important for all motorists to drive safely around big trucks. “It’s pretty easy to get the passenger vehicle off the roadway fairly quickly, but when they do involve the semi-trucks or the larger vehicles it can take hours sometimes and they block four lanes of traffic so you know just keep an eye out for those on the roadways,” said Dunnaway.
The Missouri coalition for roadway safety encourages drivers to avoid cutting off large trucks or buses. Drivers should also pass only on the left side of the truck, and watch their following distance.