Teens and Trucks Program unveiled in the Valley

FRESNO, Calif.

These freshmen at Liberty High School are getting a crash course in truck safety.

Wreck-less driving is actually encouraged here -- and young drivers are learning how to avoid major accidents.

Captain Nick Norton, CHP said, "We know that our youth drivers really think they have the world by the tail. And so we have a significant role in providing education that will help ensure their safety as they travel our highways."

Captain Nick Norton is showing Rhett Meisner, 14, the blind spots a truck driver would typically face. He had no idea the big rig featured so many of them.

"I only thought there was one and that was in the back," said Meisner. "I didn't know there were like three others."

CHP officers positioned their vehicles in those blind spots. Rhett and a few others shared their experiences with students enrolled in the Drivers Ed program. It's director says they need the special training because valley roads and highways are littered with large trucks carrying up to 80-thousand pounds of cargo.

Rick Tarango, Drivers Ed teacher said, "It does require a lot more time to stop. It's important that they understand to not swerve in front of trucks or cut trucks off and taking caution with passing trucks."

Several local companies and agencies sponsored the "Teens and Trucks" program -- which is the first of its kind in California. The California Trucking Association says the Valley is the best place to unveil the tutorial because of the high amount of trucks on local roads.

The California Highway Patrol says 58,000 trucks passed through the Central Valley on Highway 99 last month alone. All the more reason they say truck safety among teens is needed now more than ever.

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