McLEAN, Va. (WDVM) — As the most populous county in Virginia, Fairfax County leads the Commonwealth with the highest number of traffic-related deaths. On Wednesday, Virginia Tech’s Transportation Institute teamed up with a local high school with the goal of reducing all traffic fatalities.
According to VTTI, almost 80% of tractor-trailer crashes and near crashes are caused by someone driving a car.
“It’s the other vehicle drivers out there cutting the driver off in particular, slamming on the breaks and being aggressive,” said Matt Camden, Senior Researcher for Virginia Tech’s Transportation Institute Center for Truck and Bus Safety.
In an effort to reduce that number, researchers from VTTI met with students from Langley High School to teach the importance of sharing the road.
“We show them video examples from our research about risky situations we’ve seen in our research and also how they can do things safely around trucks,” Camden said.
“We’re gonna be getting our driver’s license soon and if we don’t know how to properly drive around semi-truck we could get hurt and there could be consequences,” said Timmy Steiglmen, a freshman at Langley High School.
After a classroom discussion, students rotated through four educational stations around VTTI’s tractor-trailer. Researchers strategically placed things in the blind spots around truck and talked students about safely passing, and how to keep in a safe following distance.
“I learned to be careful around these. Whenever we go on trips we always run into them and now I know if I’m in the back I can realize ‘oh this happens when you do that,'” Steiglmen said.
The program, called sharing the road, is funded by a $170,628 grant from the National Safety Council’s Road to Zero program.