AL state troopers warn drivers about tractor-trailers

February 26, 2009

By Chris Vessell bio | email

OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - Sharing the roads with commercial trucks can often turn deadly if a driver makes the wrong move. That's why Alabama State Troopers were in full force on Thursday, writing tickets to drivers who drove unlawfully around tractor trailers.

"These trucks are a lot larger, less maneuverable, they carry weight and kinetic energy, and when their involved in a crash it's usually devastating," Cpl. Steven Jarrett, a state trooper said. The Department of Public Safety partners with the Alabama Trucking association to help address safety issues involving tractor trailers.

"We actually put a state trooper inside a commercial vehicle riding shot-gun with the truck driver. That way it gives them a bird's eye view of people's natural driving habits around commercial vehicles," Jarrett said. Since May of 2008, the Alabama Trucking Association has provided a truck, and a driver for troopers to tag along and write tickets.

"When someone passes a truck and then immediately cuts back in front of the truck, or slows down, or tries to change lanes again, they put themselves in major jeopardy," said Gene Vonderau, Director of Safety for the Alabama Trucking Association.

During a safety detail on Thursday, News Leader 9 witnessed one driver receive a citation for making two lane changes without using a turn signal around a commercial vehicle. It's a reprimand Troopers hope drivers will remember.

"It's been very successful. It's drawn attention from the motoring public to what we're doing, and traffic safety when traveling around these commercial vehicles," Jarrett said

State Troopers encourage all drivers to provide tractor trailers with plenty of space on state highways and interstates. They also want drivers to be sure to use their turn signal at all times when passing a commercial vehicle.