West Michigan site of new traffic safety program; Drivers Urged to Leave More Space For TrucksContact: Melody Kindraka, OHSP, 517-241-1522Agency: State Police
A new enforcement and education initiative in West Michigan seeks to reduce crashes, fatalities and serious injuries involving cars and trucks by reminding motorists to leave more space for trucks.
The Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks (TACT) program combines outreach, education and evaluation with enforcement activities for safe driving around trucks. The Grand Rapids area was selected after a review of crash data by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute showed high crash rates associated with aggressive behavior.
"Crashes between cars and trucks can be catastrophic, both in terms of the loss of life and loss of goods and services, no matter which vehicle driver is at fault," said Michael L. Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP). "The method used in the TACT program of focusing enforcement and education efforts on car and truck drivers has been successful in other states, and we look forward to similar results in West Michigan."
In 2012, truck-involved fatalities in Michigan increased 10 percent, from 73 in 2011 to 80. There were 9,388 truck-involved crashes in 2012, with 986 of those crashes occurring in Kent and Ottawa counties.
Officers from six West Michigan law enforcement agencies will conduct TACT program enforcement on U.S. 131 and I-196 in Kent and Ottawa counties, Oct. 7 through Oct. 18. Officers will be on the lookout for violations by both passenger vehicle and truck drivers such as improper lane use, careless and reckless driving, speeding, following too close and failure to yield the right of way.
The participating agencies are the Michigan State Police, Kent and Ottawa county sheriff offices and Grand Rapids, Walker and Wyoming police departments. Additional TACT program enforcement will take place Nov. 4-15 and Dec. 2-13.
To help increase awareness and encourage compliance, TACT advertising will be seen on billboards and heard on West Michigan radio stations throughout October. The messages encourage drivers to leave more space for trucks by allowing one car length for every 10 miles of speed and not tailgating.
OHSP is supporting the TACT enforcement and public information effort with funds from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Michigan Truck Safety Commission dedicated for this purpose. This is the first time this type of program has been conducted in Michigan. The FMCSA has supported similar TACT programs in several other states including Kentucky, North Carolina and Washington.
This project is part of Michigan's Strategic Highway Safety Plan signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in February.
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