Teen Drivers and Commercial Trucks Can Be a Dangerous Combination in Missouri and Nationwide

1228351_old_truck.jpgIn 2011, teen drivers near the nation's Capital pledged to help make our roadways a little bit safer by allowing more room on our roadways for large trucks, by staying out of their blind spots, and by signing a "No Texting Promise." Teens vowed to consciously practice these habits as a part of a truck safety demonstration they attended that was organized by national safety officials and families of distracted driving crash victims, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Given the rapidly growing number of fatal accidents caused by distracted driving - especially in teen drivers - our Missouri truck accident attorneys believe that more events like this one are desperately needed.

At this FMCSA event, officials from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) spoke to students in the area about the importance of safe and cautious driving around big trucks in an attempt to prevent truck accidents in Missouri and across the country.

It's important for motorists to recognize that these large trucks drive differently than passenger vehicles do. While a passenger vehicle may be able to brake suddenly when required, a fully loaded tractor-trailer requires nearly twice the distance to stop. Tractor trailers also have large blind spots, or "No Zones," that motorists must avoid. In 2009, nearly 100 large trucks were involved in fatal motor-vehicle accidents in Missouri. A large truck is officially classified as vehicle having a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds.

"We want everyone to be safe, but as newer drivers, teens must adhere to a few simple rules," said Anne Ferro, Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. "They are: buckle up, don't drink and drive; don't speed, don't text or use your phone, and steer clear of a truck's blind spots."

February is almost behind us: it will be May before we know it. The deadliest days of the year for teen drivers ages 15-19 are during the months of May through August, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System These four months witness nearly twice as many teen deaths from motor vehicle accidents each day than other days throughout the rest of the year. Teens experience an average death rate of nearly 16 lives lost each day compared to an average of less than 10 deaths each day during the rest of the year.

"Prom, graduation, and summer are fantastic times for youth to celebrate and enjoy. However, with these fun times come unfortunate tragedies," said Sandy Spavone, NOYS President. "Through education, enforcement, and legislation lives can be saved and injuries prevented."

People between the ages 16 and 24 have a higher motor-vehicle accident fatality rate than any other age group. Between 2005 and 2009, roughly 4,000 of these young motorists were killed in accidents involving large trucks.

"Do not expect that having a driver's license is a right that comes without responsibility or risk," said Steve Keppler, Executive Director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA). "Be accountable for your actions, spread the word to your friends and parents, and help create a culture of safety. Most importantly, take the driving task seriously. You never know the impact you can have that ultimately could save your life or someone else's."

If you are dealing with a truck accident in Missouri, call 1-888-777-AUTO (2886) today for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights: for your convenience, we have offices in Springfield, Joplin, Cape Girardeau, Columbia and Kansas City.

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