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CMV Awareness: Big Rig Safety on Roads & Highways

Big rigs can be an intimidating part of driving on Missouri roads and highways. According to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), about 3,000 large trucks are involved in non-fatal Missouri accidents every year while about 1,000 are involved in injury crashes. These commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) can weigh tens of thousands more pounds than the typical passenger vehicle, which is why car-truck accidents are often so severe.

The U.S. Department of Transportation through the FMCSA regulates the trucking industry and provides frequent crash statistics and safety recommendations to reduce the number of avoidable accidents. In 2011, the department issued a guide called “Commercial Motor Vehicle Awareness Training” which was primarily for law enforcement officers, but the information can prove helpful to anyone. Listed below are some basics about CMVs and big rig safety.

What are CMVs? “CMV” stands for commercial motor vehicle. These vehicles are used to transport goods or passengers. Some examples include big rigs, charter buses, and hazardous material-carrying trucks. CMVs can be stopped by law enforcement officers for all the same reasons that a passenger vehicle driver would be pulled over, such as distracted driving, impaired driving, speeding, etc.

CMVs and stopping distance. Large trucks and commercial buses need more time to stop than smaller vehicles do. For optimum safety when traveling next to these vehicles, try to avoid abruptly stopping. It also takes these large vehicles much longer to speed up and re-join traffic after they have come to a stop or as they are traveling on onramps entering the freeway. If at all possible, move over to allow them more space to speed up or slow down.

Big Rigs and Blind Spots. The larger the vehicle, the larger the blind spot. CMV drivers typically have the most obstructed vision when it comes to the left and right back portions of their vehicles. If at all possible, stay out of known blind spot areas.

In the event that a law enforcement officer has reason to believe the truck should be searched or inspected for safety, they cannot do so themselves. Instead, they must call a certified CMV inspector. CMV inspectors can also be called to halt drivers with Mexican or Canadian commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs). Because this can prove to be a hassle, many law enforcement officers may just let the trucker go even though there is cause for concern. This is a potential cause of many truck accidents.

If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident with a large commercial motor vehicle, please do not hesitate to contact our firm. At Fox Goldblatt & Singer PC, our goal is to represent truck accident victims so that they can recover maximum financial compensation. Consultations are free, so call now!

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