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Press Archive

Charleston, W.Va. (May 22, 2015) - With roughly 33 million Americans hitting the road this Memorial Day, drivers from American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) Share the Road program urged motorists to exercise caution and good judgment as summer travel begins to ramp up.

“In addition to being a very solemn and important holiday, Memorial Day is also the unofficial kickoff of summer and the summer driving season,” said Russ Simpson, a Share the Road professional driver with Holland Inc. “With more traffic on the roads than usual, it is more important than ever for drivers to be defensive and attentive behind the wheel.”

Jan Vineyard, president of the West Virginia Trucking Association, the state affiliate of the ATA noted: “Traveling during the summer and on holiday weekends often means motorists are driving on roads that are less familiar to them.  It’s important to pay attention, put your phone down, not get behind the wheel if you’ve had too much summer fun and as always, buckle up.” 

Other tips and tactics that Share the Road drivers urged motorists to heed are:

  • Buckle up: Safety belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45% and are a simple way to increase your safety on the road.
  • Slow Down: With the extra highway congestion due to holiday travel, speeding becomes even more dangerous. Allow plenty of space between you and other vehicles and reduce your speed.
  • Don’t drive impaired: The holidays are often a time for merriment, but if you’ve had too much to drink, don’t get behind the wheel.
  • Do not cut in front of large trucks: Remember that trucks are heavier and take longer to make a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them.
  • Be aware of truck blind spots: When sharing the road with large trucks, be aware of their blind spots. If you can't see the truck driver in his or her mirrors, then the truck driver can't see you.
  • Prepare your vehicle for long distance travel: Check your wipers and fluids. Have your radiator and cooling system serviced. Simple maintenance before you leave your home can prevent many of the problems that strand motorists on the side of the road. 
  • Be aware of the vehicle in front of you: Leave extra room between you and the vehicle in front.
  • Keep your eyes on the road: Distracted driving is a major cause of traffic accidents. Even just two seconds of distraction time doubles the chances of an accident. Use your cell phone when stopped and never text while driving.
  • Plan ahead: Before you get on a highway, know your exit by name and number, and watch the signs as you near the off-ramp. Drivers making unexpected lane changes to exit often cause accidents.
  • Leave early and avoid risks: Leave early so you won't be anxious about arriving late and to accommodate delays. Road conditions may change due to inclement weather or traffic congestion.

Share the Road is a highway safety outreach program of the American Trucking Associations that educates all drivers about sharing the roads safely with large trucks. An elite team of professional truck drivers with millions of accident-free miles deliver life-saving messages to millions of motorists annually.

The long awaited report from the Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways was released earlier today, Wednesday, May 20, 2015. The 58-page report containing recommendations on infrastructure improvement and funding was approved by members of the commission and will now go to the Governor and the Joint Legislative Committee on Tax Reform for further review. 

“I’ve been extremely honored to be a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways,” said Jan Vineyard, chair of the commission’s Legislative & Public Outreach committee who represented the West Virginia Business & Industry Council on the commission. “The commission spent extensive time studying the issues surrounding our crumbling infrastructure and the funding shortfalls with which we are faced with. The release of this report is an important first step to understanding the critical need for infrastructure improvement, facing our funding challenges and addressing the next steps needed to improve our state’s roadways and bridges.”

Three Main Points of the Blue Ribbon Commission Report:

  • The commission determined the need for action to improve, repair and replace roads and bridges in West Virginia is crucial and extensive. Our state’s deteriorating infrastructure is in need of critical improvements which create an immense funding challenge. 

  • The current revenue streams and mechanisms that provide funding to our state’s road and infrastructure are inadequate and obsolete. The need for new and innovative sources of revenue, innovative financing methods, and cost efficiencies to fund our state’s infrastructure is immediate and action must occur now. We can’t kick the proverbial can down the road any longer. The Legislature’s joint committee on tax reform presents a great opportunity to address these needs and to take immediate action.

  • The citizens of West Virginia understand the problems associated with our roads and current funding shortfalls. They are willing to step up to and do their part to create the revenue to improve our infrastructure. The people of our state know that better infrastructure leads to better economic opportunities. Highways and bridges are important to West Virginians and simply doing nothing to improve them is no longer acceptable.

Brief Commission Report Summary 

The Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways was formed after Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed an executive order in August of 2012. The thirty-one member commission; comprised of legislators, state agency officials, business leaders, members of academia and other community stakeholders, spent most of 2013 studying information and listening to the testimony of many West Virginians.

The West Virginia Trucking Association has joined Trucking Moves America Forward and more than 60 national and regional infrastructure and transportation advocacy groups in participating in national Infrastructure Week, May 11-15, 2015, organization officials announced today.

The group is working to educate lawmakers and the public about America's neglected infrastructure and the profound consequences that disinvestment has on American businesses and livelihoods.

Jan Vineyard, president of the West Virginia Trucking Association, said, “The West Virginia Trucking Association and all our members are thrilled to join such a diverse and broad group of business and transportation interest groups calling attention to America's critical infrastructure needs and the rapidly approaching Highway Trust Fund fiscal cliff. Trucking companies cannot afford any more delays. Congress must fully fund the federal Highway Trust Fund to safeguard our nation's economic and national security."

The professional trucking industry contributes $682 billion in revenue every year to our nation's economy. Seven million trucking professionals nationwide move food, fuel and critical cargo in manufacturing, healthcare, retail and more.

Nearly one third of our nation's roads are in poor or mediocre condition, and one out of every nine bridges are structurally deficient, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers report card. The West Virginia Trucking Association has joined with Trucking Moves America Forward – an industry-wide movement established to ensure that policymakers and the public understand the importance of the trucking industry to the nation's economy – to advocate for infrastructure spending to improve highway networks that are most critical to the movement of freight and interstate travel. Improving our nation's highways also prioritizes the safety of the motoring public.

"This is an important dialogue to have about America's infrastructure challenges. With Congress' continued delays, our nation's infrastructure continues to deteriorate with backlogged transportation projects contributing to thousands of potentially productive hours wasted in congestion and gridlock for our drivers," Vineyard said. "Our nation's economy is powered by the cargo hauled by the hard working men and women of our industry and they deserve to deliver America's goods on roads and bridges that are not structurally deficient."

West Virginia law enforcement authorities are preparing to do a blitz to crack down on distracted driving in the state. The push is aimed at curbing talking and texting on a mobile phone while driving.

Talking or texting on a cell phone while driving in West Virginia is a primary offense.  Those drivers found in violation of the Hand Held Device Law are subject to a $100 fine for the first offense.  

Law enforcement agencies all across the Mountain State will step up their enforcement in April, which is National Distracted Driving Enforcement Month.  Most of the enforcement activity will be between April 10 and April 25, 2015.

Funding from the Governor’s Highway Safety Office will fund overtime and more patrols on the roads to combat the use of cell phones while driving.

The posted speed limit is going to be 45 miles-per-hour through a busy stretch of Interstate 64 in Charleston beginning in the next few days through the end of October. The state DOH has hired a contractor to work on 19 interstate bridges.

Kokosing Construction Company will be paid $18.1 million to replace expansion joints, put down new concrete and strengthen existing bridge decks between the Brooks Street on-ramp and the Eugene A. Carter Memorial Bridge, part of the busiest stretch of interstate in the state.

WVTA Members Receive a 2.7% discount
West Virginia Trucking Association members recieve a 2.7% discount

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