A safety program putting Alabama State Troopers in the passenger seats of tractor trailers is resulting in a number of drivers being ticketed for texting and driving, improper lane usage, cutting commercial trucks and other vehicles off, and other aggressive and unsafe driving habits.
TACT, which stands for Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks, is a crackdown on bad drivers jointly run by the Alabama Department of Public Safety and the Alabama Trucking Association. The program resembles an undercover operation to some extent, with state troopers riding along with commercial truck drivers as “spotters” on the lookout for poor and aggressive driving.
Once an unwary driver is spotted driving dangerously, the spotter radios another trooper on standby in the vicinity with the identifying information of that vehicle and the nature of the offense. That state trooper then makes the traffic stop.
“Following too closely, whether they’re texting and driving, cutting people off, improper lane usage,” State Trooper Curtis Summerville told WBRC. “Those are things that cause crashes.”
State troopers are using TACT on roads that typically see a lot of fatal traffic accidents, such as Interstate 20/59 near Vance, where WBRC and other media found state troopers pulling drivers over this week.
The trucking industry maintains that about 70 percent of all crashes involving commercial tractor trailers are initiated by drivers of passenger vehicles aggressively trying to move around big rigs or cutting them off. Many drivers don’t realize, or simply don’t care, that 18-wheelers have blind spots and require a longer distance to stop.
Many safety advocates argue that the number of crashes caused by bad commercial truck drivers is much greater than 30 percent. But whatever the numbers, any campaign to pull bad drivers off the road, whether they are behind the wheel of a car or tractor trailer, is a good thing.