The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and its partners have launched a new program to help enhance safety for truckers traveling through the state’s mountainous areas.
Often exacerbated by severe weather conditions, Colorado’s high elevation and topography can be particularly challenging for truck drivers, with the terrain along the state’s mountain corridors increasing the risk of brakes overheating or failing. As part of CDOT’s ‘Whole System – Whole Safety’ initiative, and in light of recent fatal runaway truck incidents, the agency has established a strategic partnership with the Colorado State Patrol (CSP), Colorado Motor Carriers Association (CMCA), and in-cab driver alert providers, PrePass Safety Alliance and Drivewyze. The coalition has now launched ‘The Mountain Rules’, a comprehensive, strategic and safety-focused effort to inform and educate in-state and inter-state trucking companies and drivers on the challenges of driving in Colorado’s mountains.
The new campaign includes information on potential hazards, and a consistent reminder on the need to be’ slow, steady, and safe for the long haul’. In addition to an educational effort, The Mountain Rules consists of infrastructure and informational improvements, including:
- Signing eastbound Interstate 70 and all eastbound chain stations, east of the Eisenhower/Johnson Tunnels, with information on the brake check locations for truckers;
- Restriping the wide eastbound exit ramp at the Genesee Park Interchange into a more-defined short-term truck parking area where overheated brakes can cool down and equipment checks can take place prior to the final descent into the Golden area;
- Weigh station bypass services providers, PrePass and Drivewyze, have added Colorado-specific information to their in-cab alert systems, warning truck drivers about specific areas where brake failures could occur, and the location of brake check and runaway truck ramps;
- Information gathering on the feasibility of a new ramp and other measures to mitigate runaway trucks, such as geometric and signage improvements to the existing Mount Vernon Canyon Truck Runaway Ramp.
The I-70 Mountain Corridor will be the initial pilot area for The Mountain Rules initiative and CDOT will then expand the program to the state’s other mountainous locations.
“It’s no secret that our mountains create immense challenges for semi-truck drivers,” said CDOT’s executive director, Shoshana Lew. “The Mountain Rules has a simple mission – get everyone home safely – and this campaign, which supports our Whole Safety – Whole System initiative, is a major step towards achieving that goal.”
Chairman of the CMCA, Jim Coleman, noted, “Our mountains, and the highways winding through them, provide some of the greatest vistas in the world and make Colorado special. These same roadways, such as I-70, pose a particular challenge for truck drivers and truck brakes, with long and steep downgrades of up to 7%. This outreach effort and program will go a long way in educating truck drivers of how to navigate through our mountains, which will enhance safety for all highway users.”
Terry Maple, regional director for PrePass, commented, “These dynamic alerts will improve highway safety by notifying truck drivers well in advance of steep grades and sites where they can check their brakes.”
Brian Mofford, vice president of government experience at Drivewyze, added, “Our alerts will help keep preparations top of mind to help keep truck drivers and the motoring public safer.”