Teens in Tennessee Learn About Safe Driving and Sharing the Roads with Large Trucks and Buses

To help teens understand how to safely share the roads with large trucks and buses, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) – along with FedEx Corporation, the Tennessee Highway Safety Office, the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Tennessee Trucking Foundation – participated in a Safe Driving Rally for more than 2,000 students at Cookeville High School in Cookeville, Tennessee, on April 22, 2015.

The event featured, in part, CVSA’s “Teens and Trucks” educational program, which aims to specifically educate teens about safe driving practices around commercial vehicles. Students also attended an assembly where they heard from speaker Amanda Kloehr who was in a devastating crash with a commercial vehicle while she was distracted behind the wheel. After her story, students had the opportunity to ask her questions about her experience and speak with her one on one.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. In 2011, about 2,650 teens in the United States age 16-19 were killed, and almost 292,000 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor-vehicle crashes.

“Young adults are more likely to be involved in crashes than the general population,” said CVSA Executive Director Stephen A. Keppler. “Research shows that many drivers of passenger cars, especially young people ages 16 to 24 years old, unnecessarily endanger themselves by failing to recognize that trucks, buses and cars differ in their handling characteristics and capabilities.”

Most drivers’ education classes offer future drivers very little, if any, information on how to drive safely around commercial vehicles. While there is no substitute for on-the-road driving experience, there are steps that can be taken to reduce teens’ risks behind the wheel.

Knowing the facts and practicing safe-driving techniques is very important for young drivers, especially when it comes to driving around large motor vehicles. At the safety event, the students:

  • Participated in hands-on demonstrations and had the opportunity to sit inside a tractor-trailer to see the blind spots around a truck, also known as the “No Zones,” where the truck driver cannot see other vehicles
  • Drove on an impaired driving course to experience what it’s like to drive a vehicle when under the influence
  • Received driving tips from professional truck drivers and law enforcement representatives about how to operate safely around large trucks and buses, the dangers of distracted driving, and why seat belts are important
  • Sat in an accident simulator to feel what it’s like to be in a minor car crash
  • Attempted to complete a tricycle race while texting

This event was part of CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver Program, which was launched in 2007 to combat the number of deaths resulting from crashes involving large trucks, buses and passenger vehicles. The program is conducted in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, state, provincial and local law enforcement, and industry.

Learn more about safe driving practices around large trucks and buses.

See photos from the event.