September 9, 2009

State of Alabama
Press Release: Alabama Department of Public Safety

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Grant Funds Trooper Efforts

MONTGOMERY — Increased safety in and around commercial motor vehicles is the goal of a new Department of Public Safety initiative known as TACT: Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks, according to Col. J. Christopher Murphy, Public Safety director. Murphy said the enforcement and educational program is made possible by a $645,000 grant DPS received from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Murphy announced the initiative at a news conference Wednesday at the Capitol, where he was joined by Darrell Ruban, FMCSA Southern Service Division field administrator; Judy C. Van Luchene, FMCSA division administrator; and Frank Filgo, president and chief executive officer of the Alabama Trucking Association. Also taking part in the news conference were local law enforcement agencies which have partnered with Public Safety in commercial vehicle enforcement.

 TACT focuses on the unsafe driving behaviors that contribute to serious and fatal crashes between personal and commercial motor vehicles, said Murphy. These include unsafe lane changes, following too closely, failure to signal lane changes, failure to yield the right of way, speeding, and aggressive driving, which is a combination of two or more risky driving behaviors.

Alabama state troopers are targeting their TACT enforcement on sections of roadways identified as high-risk areas for crashes involving commercial vehicles, Murphy said. He said the University of Alabama’s Center for Advanced Public Safety is conducting pre- and post-initiative analysis of serious and fatal crashes involving commercial vehicles both to guide enforcement activities and to gauge their effectiveness.

Van Luchene cited the state’s work to increase highway and traffic safety and said, “The efforts of Alabama’s law enforcement community to reduce fatalities on our highways have been very successful.  Both nationally and in Alabama, driver-related factors are indicated for the automobile driver in more than 80 percent of the fatal crashes involving a car and a commercial motor vehicle.

“The Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks program focuses on both cars and commercial motor vehicles and is one more effort that combines education and enforcement to ensure more of our citizens arrive safely at their destination,” said Van Luchene. 

The Alabama Department of Transportation and the Alabama Trucking Association have partnered with Public Safety in the TACT program, helping educate motorists about sharing the road safely through posters, electronic message boards, and displays on commercial motor vehicles.

Transportation Director Joe McInnes said, “ALDOT’s primary mission centers around the engineering that goes into Alabama’s roads and bridges, but we’re also big advocates for education and enforcement. Together, the three E’s of engineering, education and enforcement are reducing fatalities on Alabama’s highways, and we’re pleased to be a partner in making Alabama safer.”

Filgo said, “The Alabama Trucking Association is proud to partner with the state Department of Public Safety and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in this important highway safety initiative.  The TACT program is a major step in the right direction to making Alabama roadways safer for all users, and our membership is proud to help facilitate this program. 

 “Six of our members donated one trailer each for the installation of the TACT graphics, and reports from drivers are overwhelmingly positive,” said Filgo. “On behalf of our association, I would like to thank the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for the grant that made TACT possible, and the Alabama Department of Public Safety for allowing us to contribute to the reduction and possible elimination of unsafe driving on our highways.”

 CMV-involved crashes and fatalities declined in Alabama in 2007 and 2008, along with a 12 percent reduction nationwide in the truck-involved fatality rate for 2008. DPS hopes to further that decline through TACT education and enforcement activities designed to promote safer interaction between personal and commercial motor vehicles, Murphy said.

 “Through the TACT program, we are working to improve driving behavior, especially the aggressive driving behaviors that prevent personal and commercial vehicles from sharing the road safely,” he said. “We want the motoring public to understand and practice safe ways to share the road, taking into account the special considerations of CMV size and maneuverability.”

 In implementing the grant, troopers are working seven designated enforcement periods between Labor Day and the end of the year. Highway Patrol troopers statewide, in addition to troopers assigned to commercial vehicle enforcement, will take part in the program.

 The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrative initiated TACT in 2004 as a pilot program in Washington state. Based on the success of the pilot, FMCSA has encouraged other states to participate, and Alabama is now one of 15 states that have received federal funding to implement a TACT program.

Department of Public Safety, Public Information/Education, (334) 242-4445  

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