JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. --- Life-saving highway driving tips were presented this week as part of the American Trucking Associations' national "Share the Road" highway safety tour by top professional truck drivers and other safety experts. The program opened with Senate Transportation Committee Chair Bill Stouffer (R-Napton) announcing that Missouri had the largest drop in traffic-related fatalities in 2006 of any state in the nation. Then, professional truck drivers with millions of accident-free driving miles demonstrated the techniques that motorists should use when driving near large trucks. House Transportation Committee Chair Neal St. Onge (R-Ballwin) also spoke about the efforts of highway safety organizations and advancements in technology that have assisted in safer Missouri highways. The American Trucking Associations, Missouri Motor Carriers Association, Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Share the Road sponsors, Mack Trucks and Michelin North America also joined the group of drivers to discuss highway safety with Missouri motorists. "Traffic fatalities went down here in Missouri last year," said Steve Eckhoff, a professional truck driver from Hogan Transports. "And that's what this is all about --- educating the public on how to make better driving decisions and be a little safer out on the nation's highways." The event featured professional truck drivers Steve Fields (Yellow Transportation), Steve Eckhoff (Hogan Transports), Kent Durant (Roadway) and Wayne Crowder (FedEx Freight). 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. "Share the Road allows me as a truck driver to give people life-saving advice," Fields told reporters at the event. "Most automobile drivers were never taught what they can do to avoid an accident with a tractor-trailer. 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." According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, around three quarters of all truck-involved fatalities are unintentionally initiated by car drivers. A total of 35 percent of all truck-involved highway fatalities occur in a truck's blind spots. Following the safety demonstration at the state capitol, reporters and photographers were given tractor-trailer rides on I-50. From the truck driver's perspective they viewed safe merging and stopping distances, and learned some of the differences between how cars and large trucks operate on the highways.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials