Highway Patrol cracking down on aggressive driving

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

RALEIGH ń Beginning this morning, the Highway Patrol is conducting Operation Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks (TACT) to crackdown on motorists driving recklessly around commercial motor vehicles. Operation TACT will be conducted on I-77 in Iredell County between the Amity Hill Road and US 21, on I-85 in Cabarrus County between Kannapolis Parkway and Lane Street and on I-85 in Durham County between Cole Mill Road and Red Mill Road. The operation will be conducted for the next two weeks. This operation is a collaborative effort between the Highway Patrol and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
ěThe Highway Patrol is responding to the increase of big truck crashes on our highways,î said Colonel Walter J. Wilson, Jr., Commander of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. ěWe are going to make the highways as safe as possible. I have instructed our Troopers to aggressively crackdown on cars driving recklessly around big trucks and on commercial motor vehicles violating traffic laws. Motorists should remember not to press their luck and leave room for trucks.î
Each year Troopers investigate more than 5,500 crashes involving motor carrier vehicles statewide. Last year 99 people were killed and 1,839 injured in crashes involving motor carrier vehicles.
These locations were selected based on crash data and the large number of commercial motor vehicles and cars that travel on these interstates.
Commercial motor vehicle crashes also contribute significantly to traffic congestion, an increasing problem on these interstates. The magnitude of that problem is projected to double in the next 25 years. The highway patrolís motor carrier enforcement section, along with its local partners, has an obligation to both improve commercial motor vehicle safety as well as the efficiency of commercial vehicle operations. Law enforcement officials believe their efforts will result in fewer serious collisions between motorists and commercial motor vehicles, as well as the significant congestion that such collisions can cause.
ěThe Highway Patrol is determined to reduce both fatal and non-fatal traffic collisions involving big trucks on North Carolina highways,î said Reuben Young, Secretary of the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety. ěTrucks need extra time and extra space to change lanes or come to a complete stop. By giving trucks the room they need, we can prevent crashes and save lives. Sharing the road safely is every driverís responsibility.î
Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks is the first campaign to concentrate solely on vehicles driving aggressively around commercial motor vehicle violations and will be conducted again later this year. Troopers will be using helicopters and unmarked patrol vehicles during the operation. Additionally, State Troopers will be cracking down on motorists driving aggressively around big trucks and ticketing speeders, tailgaters, and aggressive drivers.

Motorists should remember the following safety tips when driving near a big truck:
? Stay out of the No-Zone
No-Zones are areas to the side and rear of a large truck where the car ědisappearsî from the view of the truck driver. Stay visible! If you canít see the driver in his mirrors, he canít see you.
? Large trucks need a much longer breaking distance than a car.
When passing a large truck, donít pull in until you can clearly see the top of the truck cab in your rear view mirror, and then maintain that distance or more.
When crossing in the path of an approaching truck, remember that the truck may be approaching you faster than you think.
? Donít tailgate large trucks
Leave the ëdraftingí to NASCAR drivers. Following too close behind a large truck prevents you from reacting to changing traffic conditions.
? Allow plenty of room.
Large trucks are almost as wide as your lane of travel. An emergency may suddenly put them in your lane.
? Donít speed.
Obey all speed limits.
? Buckle-up
Wearing your seatbelt is the single most important thing you can do to save your life in a crash
Protect yourself and your passengers by learning how to share the road safely with large vehicles.
Motorists may report dangerous driving to the Highway Patrol by dialing *HP on their cellular phones.