Highway Safety Leaders Deliver Life-Saving Measures for Charlotte Drivers


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CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Life-saving highway driving tips were presented today as part of the American Trucking Associations' national Share the Road highway safety tour by top professional truck drivers and other safety partners.

In the past year, a poll cited traffic congestion as the #1 problem in the greater Charlotte region, and a study found that congestion in North Carolina will more than double in the next 25 years. Traffic delays in Charlotte will mirror those currently seen in Chicago, indicating the need for motorists to learn safe driving techniques.

The American Trucking Associations, the North Carolina Trucking Association, North Carolina Highway Patrol, the Governors Highway Safety Program, Charlotte Mecklenburg School (CMS) driver trainers, AAA Carolinas, and the Share the Road sponsors, Mack Trucks and Michelin North America, joined the elite group of drivers to discuss highway safety on Charlotte highways. The Charlotte, NC stop at Mack Trucks Charlotte demonstrated to drivers how to share the road safely with large trucks.

"Over 90.9 percent of the workforce and many high school and college students in the Charlotte area drive to work or school each day," said Larry Shelton, a professional truck driver from Old Dominion Freight Line. "Most automobile drivers were never taught what they can do to avoid an accident with a tractor-trailer," Shelton added.

Featured at today's event were professional truck drivers Larry Shelton and Ralph Hamilton with Old Dominion Freight Line, Tony Sifford with FedEx Ground, Jerry Avossa with FedEx Freight, and Rick Whittle, a truck driver for Bulldog Hiway Express. Those drivers are members of an elite team of million- mile, accident-free truck drivers who deliver the trucking industry's safety messages across the country. Mr. Sifford told reporters at the media event that, "Share the Road allows me as a truck driver to give people life-saving advice. By being aware of the blind spots around trucks, all drivers can more easily avoid crashes. This information, and other safety advice, will help everyone to share the roads safely."

Today's presentation of Share the Road safety measures is important to area motorists because, according to national statistics:

-- Around three quarters of all truck-involved fatalities are unintentionally initiated by car drivers (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). -- 35% of all truck-involved highway fatalities occur in a truck's blind spots (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). -- Watching this demonstration will help reduce accidents and save lives.

Following the safety demonstration today at Mack Trucks of Charlotte, reporters, photographers and CMS driver trainers were given tractor-trailer rides on I-85. From the truck driver's perspective they viewed safe merging and stopping distances, and learned up close and personal some of the differences between how cars and large trucks operate on the highways. Today's demonstration was designed to teach specific skills in order for motorists to drive safely around other automobiles and around trucks and large commercial vehicles on the highways, and to arrive safely at their destinations. (See the Share the Road safety guidelines that follow.)

The American Trucking Associations' Share the Road is a highway safety program that delivers life-saving messages to hundreds of U.S. cities and reaches millions of motorists annually, designed to educate automobile drivers about sharing the roads safely with trucks. The program, sponsored by Mack Trucks, Inc. and Michelin North America Inc., is represented by an elite team of professional truck drivers with millions of miles of accident-free driving on America's highways. SHARE THE ROAD


American Trucking Associations: The American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of other trucking groups, industry-related conferences, and its 50 affiliated state trucking associations, ATA represents more than 37,000 members covering every type of motor carrier in the United States. index

The Share the Road program is a highway safety program that delivers life- saving messages to hundreds of U.S. cities and reaches millions of motorists annually, designed to educate automobile drivers about sharing the roads safely with trucks. The American Trucking Associations' program, sponsored by Mack Trucks, Inc. and Michelin North America Inc., is represented by an elite team of professional truck drivers with millions of miles of accident-free driving on America's highways. SHARE THE ROAD

North Carolina Trucking Association: The North Carolina Trucking Association is committed to safety on our state's highways. With over 500 companies, NCTA represents the unified trucking industry of North Carolina. As an industry, trucking is a vital part of our state's economy. We carry millions of dollars worth of cargo every day, and service every community in the state. Many communities in North Carolina are served exclusively by trucks, and couldn't exist without the trucking industry. North Carolina Trucking Association

Mack Trucks, Inc: Dedicated to quality, reliability, and total customer satisfaction, Mack Trucks, Inc. has provided its customers with innovative transportation solutions for more than a century. Today, Mack is one of North America's largest producers of heavy-duty trucks, and MACK(r) vehicles are sold and serviced in more than 45 countries worldwide. Since 2000, Mack has proudly sponsored Share the Road, the American Trucking Associations' public information outreach campaign aimed at enhancing the safety of our nation's roadways. In 2005, the company donated to Share the Road a new Mack Vision(tm) 70-Inch High-Rise sleeper for use in the program's safety and media events. Mack - The Greatest Name in Trucks: Mack Trucks

Mack of Charlotte: Mack Trucks has been serving the Carolinas since 1922 with transportation solutions, innovation, integrity, and value. In 1996 this factory branch and leasing company, Southeastern NationaLease, was sold to the McMahon family. The McMahon Truck Group has now expanded to four locations in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The McMahon family has a rich tradition of three generations of affiliation with Mack Trucks. Southeastern NationaLease provides safety services and training for their customers' drivers and supports the efforts of the American Trucking Association and the Truck Rental and Leasing Association in their nation wide safety initiatives. Mack Truck of Charlotte, North Carolina | Mack Truck of Nashville & Columbia, Tennessee, Mack Truck of Rock Hill, South Carolina

Michelin North America: Dedicated to the improvement of sustainable mobility, Michelin designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks, motorcycles and the space shuttle. The company also publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, maps and road atlases. Headquartered in Greenville, SC, Michelin North America employs 22,230 and operates 19 major manufacturing plants in 17 locations. Michelin North America has 650 employees in North Carolina, as well as two retail outlets with 200 employees; 45 servicing dealerships with 2,100 employees and one manufacturing plant, Michelin Aircraft Tire Corporation at Norwood. Michelin North America became a sponsor of American Trucking Associations' Share the Road program in January 2006. The 53' Share the Road tractor- trailer rolls across the country on Michelin X One drive tires and anti-splash steer tires".

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was established as a separate administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000, pursuant to the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999. The primary mission is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. FMCSA is headquartered in Washington, DC. We employ more than 1,000 individuals, in all 50 States and the District of Columbia, dedicated to improving bus and truck safety and saving lives. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Other Links: AAA Carolinas: AAA.com AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety: Welcome to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Bulldog Hiway Express: Truck Driving Jobs - Bulldog Hiway Express is a award-winning east coast trucking line and intermodal carrier. FedEx Freight: Trucking Company -- Less than Truck Load (LTL) Shipping FedEx Ground: FedEx Ground Tracking - FedEx Ground Shipping - Ground Freight Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools North Carolina Governor's Highway Safety Program: NCDOT Governor's Highway Safety Program: Home North Carolina State Highway Patrol: http://www.ncshp.org/ North Carolina Department of Transportation - DMV: NCDOT: Home Old Dominion Freight Lines: Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. ATA Share The Road Safety Guidelines for Motorists -- Never cut in front of a truck -- Fully loaded trucks weigh up to 80,000 pounds and take the length of a football field to stop. Most cars weigh only 3,000 pounds. -- Don't linger alongside a truck -- There are large blind spots around trucks where cars momentarily "disappear" from view and the truck driver can't see you. -- Pass trucks quickly -- To make themselves visible cars should not linger near trucks, and should move past them or slow down to back off, out of the blind spot. -- Changing lanes -- Change lanes when you can see both of the truck's headlights in your rearview mirror. -- If possible, pass a truck on the left, not on the right -- A truck's blind spot on the right runs the length of the trailer and extends out 3 lanes. Motorists should try to avoid passing through this large blind spot. -- Keep a safety cushion around trucks -- Try to leave a 10-car length safety cushion in front of a truck and stay back 20-25 car lengths. Following a truck too closely obscures your view. -- Check the truck's mirrors -- If you're following a truck and you can't see the driver's face in the truck's side mirrors, the truck driver can't see you. -- Allow trucks adequate space to maneuver -- Trucks make wide turns at intersections and require additional lanes to turn, so motorists should allow a truck the space it needs to maneuver. For additional information about Share the Road, please contact ATA at 703-838-1836

Source: American Trucking Associations

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