Friday, March 4, 2011

With trucks and buses, stay out of "No-Zones"

Unless you drive a big rig, bus or delivery truck, you probably haven't heard much about our Department's Commercial Vehicle Inspection Section. The officers in this section are federally certified experts in commercial vehicle and heavy truck inspection. They undergo extensive training and are charged with the responsibility of enforcing state and federal motor carrier laws within the city. They meet extensively with trucking and other commercial vehicle companies to keep them apprised of the laws and will take trucks off the road if they're not complying with these laws.

But these officers also are interested in keeping the general driving public safe around commercial vehicles, as well. They have a booth at the Greater Kansas City International Auto Show this weekend (they'll be at the south end of Bartle Hall) that talks about the dangers of "The No Zone." No-Zones are areas around trucks and buses where crashes are most likely to occur, and they're illustrated above. We and the U.S. Department of Transportation advise you not to "hang out in the No-Zone." If you get into a wreck with a large truck or bus, you're at a big disadvantage. 78% of fatalities in these crashes are those in passenger vehicles. Here are some No-Zone tips, and more information is in this brochure:

* Side No-Zones: Don't hang out on either side of trucks or buses. They have big blind spots on both sides, and if you can't see the driver's face, the driver can't see you.

* Rear No-Zones: Don't tailgate. Unlike in your vehicle, drivers of trucks and buses can't see directly behind them. If they brake suddenly, you'll have nowhere to go.

* Front No-Zones: Pass safely, and don't cut in too soon after stopping. Truck and bus drivers need nearly twice the time and room to stop as cars. Look for the whole front of the truck in your rear-view mirror before pulling in front.

* Backing up No-Zone: Never cross behind a truck that's backing up. Hundreds of motorists and pedestrians are injured or killed every year this way. Remember, ther truck doesn't have a rear-view mirror.

* Wide right-turns: Bus and truck drivers sometimes need to swing left to safely make a right turn. Don't try to squeeze in on the right side between them and the curb.

Send comments to