Young Woman Becomes Safety Advocate After Truck Crash; New Initiative Teaches Teens About Dangers Around Trucks

6:45 AM, May 9, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- This week, we're talking about Global Youth Traffic Safety Month. The focus Thursday is teens and trucks.

Amanda Kloehr was on her way to see a friend near Norfolk, Virginia when distracted driving caused her to slam into a tractor trailer at full speed.

"I was looking at a number of things: my cell phone, my GPS, the radio, all of these things in my car. And I looked away from the road long enough to not realize the tractor-trailer stopped and I hit the back of him going about 65, 70 miles an hour," said Kloehr. "Even after 20 surgeries, this is what happened to my face."

Captain Norman Dofflemyer from the Maryland State Police told us on Thursday,  "She's fortunate she survived it and has become a spokesperson for youth driving. "

Dofflemyer is working with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance on a new initiative with a great pamphlet and video. "Teens and Trucks is to teach teens about the dangers around trucks. A lot of the things we show them are things they don't think about when they're driving. Driver's ed is taught in the schools but they don't get the reality," said Dofflemyer. 

He told us, "The program runs in six modules and teaches different aspects of how to drive, things to think about. Plan escape routes and things like that. It makes you aware of the dangers around a truck to include -- we go over turbulence around a truck. Some people get shocked when pushed by the wind that the truck gives off."

You can get Teens and Trucks through the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and from Maryland State Police, or go to teensandtrucks.org

Dofflemyer named some of the most important things one should remember even as an adult when driving around a truck:

"The first thing to remember is the 'no zones.' These are the areas that the truck driver can't see you. There are blind spots to the truck or bus driver. You need to stay out of those zones. The other would be following them too close where they can't see you." 

It takes them longer to stop as well in case they have to stop suddenly and you're right behind them. "The professional driver will leave a lot of space between them and the car ahead of them so they can plan for emergency braking. A lot of teens and adults will see that space, take advantage of it and pull into it. A  lot of times they can't see you in front of the truck," said Dofflemyer.

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