UDOT Launches "Truck Smart" Program

UDOT Launches "Truck Smart" Program

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Jed Boal ReportingWhen you pull up next to a big rig on the highway, do you get a little nervous? When trucks and cars collide, who do you think is at fault most of the time? UDOT has launched a "Truck Smart" program to make all of us smarter around trucks.

Bob Butler is a 30-year trucking veteran.

Bob Butler, Truck Driver: "I really had a good learning experience. It's taught me more about America."

He's also learned many motorists overlook a truck's limitations.

Bob Butler: "I think they just don't understand what 80-thousand pounds of steel running down the highway, that I cannot stop as quick as they can stop."

If you need to pass, do it safely and deliberately.

Bob Butler: "Don't sit right beside me and watch the wheels go round and round. Pass or get behind me, but don't sit beside me. I could blow a tire."

Truckers admit they make mistakes, but in 75-percent of all crashes involving both commercial trucks and other vehicles, the driver of the other vehicle was at fault.

David Creer, Utah Trucking Association: "There's lots of trucks out there, there's lots of motorists. We need to be aware of each other on the road."

It takes trucks twice as long to stop at 25 miles per hour, even longer when they're going faster with a full load.

Rick Clasby, Director-UDOT Motor Carrier Division: "Trucks take longer to stop and need more time to maneuver."

I took a spin in a truck driving simulator to get an idea for what truck drivers handle on the road.

Byron Strong, Simulator Sales Manager: "Space management issues are true for a car as well as a truck. But with a truck you have a lot bigger space to manage."

Driving the simulator, I really get a sense for how many more things a truck driver has to be mindful of, than I do driving my vehicle. They have to be constantly aware of the size of their load and all of the traffic around them. They also have to keep an eye out for motorists that might do dangerous maneuvers around them.

One good tip: don’t go into the no zones, just over the trucker's shoulder and behind the trailer extending 75 feet.

David Creer: "If you can see that driver's face in the mirror, he can see you. If you can't, you're in a blind spot."

And there are more trucks all the time. In the next 20-years truck freight traffic will increase 40-percent.

Bob Butler: "If I can just run down the road at 65 miles per hour, and people get down the road, we're all happy campers."

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