Don't Tailgate Big Trucks to Save Gas, ATA and FMCSA Warn

A few Web sites are dangerously recommending that car drivers "draft" behind fast-moving heavy trucks to save gasoline, the American Trucking Associations said recently. ATA, the largest U.S. trade group for the trucking industry, strongly warned against the practice.

"Few driving behaviors are more dangerous on our highways than drafting," said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. "Drivers who practice this unsafe behavior are often out of the field of vision of the truck driver and are unable to see around the truck. 'Drafting' is unsafe, illegal, and significantly increases the chances of injury and death. This practice compromises the safety of everyone on the nation’s highways and must not be considered a viable means of extending fuel mileage."

ATA is educating the public about safe following distances through its Share the Road safety program. "While drivers everywhere are feeling pinched by the high price of gasoline, safety should never come at the expense of fuel efficiency," said John Hill, FMCSA's administrator. "FMCSA works closely with states and industry to educate consumers about large truck safety and to target passenger vehicles that drive dangerously around commercial vehicles – including extreme tailgating, called 'drafting.' 'Hypermilers' and others who embrace such reckless tactics must consider their safety and those with whom they share the road, especially if a truck had to brake suddenly. These highly unsafe driving behaviors must be avoided by all motorists."

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