Law of the month

State Patrol August Law of the Month highlights safe travel around CMVs

Automobile drivers share the road with all types of travelers including motorcyclists, pedestrians, bicyclists - and a growing number of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). The Wisconsin State Patrol Law of the Month for August focuses on state traffic laws and good driving habits to help ensure safe interactions between CMVs and other motor vehicle operators.

“Due to their size and weight, commercial motor vehicles have unique operating limitations such as large blind spots, longer stopping distances and limited maneuverability,” said Wisconsin State Patrol Superintendent J.D. Lind. “Whether you’re driving a CMV or other motor vehicle, the same rules and advice apply: don’t tailgate, be aware of lingering in blind spots, pass safely and allow adequate room when you re-enter a traffic lane.”

State law 346.07 pertains to safe passing, and prohibits drivers from returning to a traffic lane “until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle.” Violations can result in a fine of $232 and assessment of three demerit points. State law 346.14 prohibits drivers from following another vehicle “more closely than is reasonable and prudent.” Violations can result in a $200 citation and three demerit points. General safety guidelines that apply to CMV operators and other motorists:

  • Be patient, watch your speed and don’t tailgate. Some CMVs may travel slower than other traffic due to technology that limits their freeway speed. Drivers who follow too close decrease their ability to see what’s ahead and have less time to react when traffic slows.
  • When passing, don’t linger in blind spots. As you return to a traffic lane, allow adequate room to avoid “cutting off” other vehicles.
  • Use and watch for turn signals. CMVs require extra room to turn. Never try to squeeze in between the curb and a turning CMV.

“Safety on our roadways requires all drivers to do their part by being patient, sharing the road and abiding by traffic laws,” Superintendent J.D. Lind said.

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