According to a study by the University of Miami, car crash fatalities rise in popular spring break destinations from February to April. Metro Creative Connection photo

On the road to spring break, traffic crashes surge

Be especially safety conscious around big-rig trucks

Spring break is that time of year to get away from school and head with friends or family to a fun destination. But Americans should exercise caution if they are traveling on our nation’s highways during spring break, warns Atlanta-based Road Safe America. As one of the most-heavily-traveled times of the year, each of us should be aware of increased car and truck crashes.

For most major colleges and universities, spring break falls between February and April. According to a study by the University of Miami, car crash fatalities rise during this time period in popular spring break destinations across seven states: Texas, Nevada, South Carolina, Arizona, Virginia, California and Florida.

Also, fatalities involving out-of-state drivers under 25 years old were significantly higher than resident drivers during this same period.

“Young people on spring break need to be aware that a big rig can’t stop or maneuver as quickly or easily as their car, and that it could take more than the length of two football fields for a truck traveling 65 mph to completely stop,” said Steve Owings, co-founder of the non-profit safety advocacy group Road Safe America. “If a crash occurs with a big truck, the probability of injury or death in the car is very high, so always try to give them lots of room.”

Road Safe America calls attention to the results of a national survey showing that voters across the United States strongly support the required use of two safety technologies in large trucks, speed limiters and automatic emergency braking.

“Required use of speed limiters and automatic emergency braking technology on big trucks definitely would make our highways safer for our young people on spring break as well as everyone else, including big-rig drivers,” Owings said.

Owings and his wife, Susan, founded Road Safe America in 2003 after their son, Cullum, was killed when his car – stopped in an interstate traffic jam – was crushed from behind by a speeding tractor trailer going well above the posted speed limit on cruise control.

“Road Safe America is an impartial, fact-based, advocacy organization focused on a win-win for the motoring public and professional truck drivers,” Owings declared. “The win-win? Safer highways for everyone. In our vision, there are no losers.”

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