Georgia Safety, Traffic and Law Enforcement Officers attend roadway accident-prevention training in honor of nursing students killed in I-16 tractor-trailer crash

Officers attending the commercial motor vehicle training at GSU on Thursday, November 12, 2015.

1,182.

That’s the number of vehicle fatalities that have happened in Georgia this year alone, according to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

Some of those include collisions with tractor-trailers and that’s exactly why safety and law officials say they couldn’t wait any longer to learn how to make the roadways safer for everyone.

News 3’s Courtney Cole attended the commercial vehicle accident training session on Georgia Southern University’s Campus on Thursday to find out what steps they’re taking to prevent more deadly vehicle accidents from happening on our roadways.

“We know that there is a reluctance sometimes–on behalf of local officers to make traffic stops on commercial vehicles—18-wheelers– and we want to do everything we can to overcome that,” said Harris Blackwood, the Director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

And overcoming the fear of stopping a big-rig is exactly what Blackwood said officers learned how to do Thursday afternoon in training…

“Interacting with tractor-trailers can be a little…there can be some apprehension with it–why? Because it’s big and it’s noisy and it’s ugly and it’s greasy–but the same laws that apply to the causation accident factors for passenger cars is the same for tractor-trailers,” said Mark McDonough, the Commissioner of Public Safety.

And they learned things like…

“…What they need to look for in terms of licensure, what they can ask for, what they can’t ask for and the state statues that back them up on that,” Blackwood said.

All things that will make them more confident during a stop…that could ultimately save many lives out here on the road.

“We know that there are a lot of contributing factors to crashes, including the one that happened 6 months ago today…The things we can do–enforce speed laws, lane violations, other moving violations and we’re going to teach officers how to do that through this program,” Blackwood told News 3.

Blackwood also says that it’s not just the trucks their trained to look out for, but regular vehicles too…because that’s what it’s going to take to bring the number of fatalities down.

“That’s not numbers on a tote board…every one of those fatalities represents a family whose lives have been change forever…just like these 5 nursing students, their families lives have been turned upside down,” said Blackwood.

Blackwood also told me that today’s session is only the start, because there are plans to expand this training across the state.

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