Commercial Motor Vehicle Awareness


Commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) are an important part of our nation’s economy and have a large presence on Missouri's highways. They weigh 80,000 pounds and  carry the products we need.

While CMVs do contribute to some traffic crashes, research shows that too many drivers of passenger cars, especially people ages 20 to 40 years old, unnecessarily endanger themselves due to inattention or reckless driving around large trucks and buses .

CMV drivers are professional drivers who practice defensive driving. They must pay attention to the job at hand and watch people in other lanes so they can react if necessary. All drivers need to practice safe driving and share the road with large trucks and buses.

Tips for Driving Safely Around Large Trucks or Buses

Large trucks and buses (commercial motor vehicles or CMVs) have large blind spots, long stopping distances, and limited maneuverability.  Simple actions by passenger vehicles can help avoid causing or experiencing problems around trucks and buses:

  1. Stay out of the "No Zone". Large trucks and buses have blind spots on all four sides. If you can't see the driver in the vehicle side mirror, assume the driver can't see you. Don't drive in a blind spot - slow down or move ahead to stay visible and take extra care when merging.
  2. Pass Safely. Make sure you can see the driver in the vehicle mirror before passing. Signal clearly, then move into the left lane, and accelerate so that you can get past the truck or bus safely and pass promptly. Don't linger in the blind spot. Make sure the truck or bus is visible in your rearview mirror before you pull in front; give it extra space. Don't pass trucks or buses on a downgrade where they tend to pick up speed, and never pass from the right lane.
  3. Don't Cut It Close. It's especially dangerous to "cut off" a truck or bus. If you move in quickly, you'll likely be in a blind spot. Even if you're visible, the truck or bus may not be able to slow quickly to avoid a crash because of the amount of time it takes to stop.
  4. Stay Back. Tailgating a commercial truck or bus puts you in a blind spot. Because trucks are high off the ground, your vehicle could slide (or get pushed) under a truck in a crash, with devastating results. Stay back when stopped, particularly on an upgrade, where a truck or bus might roll back.
  5. Anticipate Wide Turns. Commercial trucks and buses need extra turning room. They swing wide or may start a turn from a middle lane. Never try to squeeze by or get between a turning vehicle and the curb.
  6. Buckle Up. Using a safety belt is one of the easiest and most important things you can do to save lives. Make sure kids always ride in the back seat, buckled up, or in car seats. If your pet comes along, use a carrier or appropriate safety restraint. #BUPD
  7. Never Drive Under the Influence.  Alcohol and drugs impair judgment and reaction time; there is no safe limit for drinking before driving. Many prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs cause dizziness, sleepiness, or slow reaction time. Heed medication warnings:  have someone else drive or use other transportation.
  8. Stay Focused. If you need to attend to anything except driving, get off the road and stop. Driving distracted is as dangerous as driving impaired. Eating, drinking, adjusting the radio, or attending to a text, app, call, or GPS can take your eyes off the road long enough to cause a crash.
  9. Don't Drive Fatigued. Take regular breaks, get another driver to relieve you, or get off the road and find a safe place to rest.
  10. Be Patient. Large trucks and buses accelerate slowly and may use speed limiters.  Honking or driving aggressively can cause dangerous distractions.

*Download in English or Spanish at


Tips for CMV Drivers

CMV drivers should also do their part by resting up, obeying speed limits and signs, avoiding distractions, and buckling up. Simple actions by CMV drivers can help avoid causing or experiencing problems around passenger vehicles:

  1. Defense! Defense! Watch for unexpected road conditions, distracted drivers, and careless or aggressive motorists. Scan ahead a quarter mile on interstates, and one to two blocks ahead in cities for traffic, work zones, and other dangers. Check mirrors every 8-10 seconds for vehicles entering blind spots.
  2. Buckle Up. Safety belts save lives, reduce injuries, and let you stay inside and in control of your vehicle.
  3. Do Your Research. Stay up-to-date on weather, road conditions, roadwork, and detours to plan driving time. Never rely on non-commercial navigation systems that don't provide height and weight limitations and other CMV restrictions.
  4. Slow Your Roll. Driving too fast for weather or road conditions or failing to slow for curves and ramps can cause spills, rollovers, or crashes.
  5. Double Down on Work Zone Safety. Slow down, maintain extra following distance, and be prepared to stop. Obey all work zone signs and signals. Scan ahead for changing traffic patterns and watch closely for road workers, flag crews, and vehicles entering your blind spots.
  6. Never Drive Distracted. It's illegal for CMV drivers to text while driving; mobile phones must be hands free and capable of being dialed using no more than one button. Eating, drinking, viewing a navigational device, map reading, controlling a pet, or any activity that takes your focus off the road can be deadly.
  7. Stay Sharp. Don't drive when you're fatigued, too ill to focus, or on medications (including over-the-counter drugs) that make you drowsy or dizzy. You could lose your license and your life.
  8. Maintain Your Vehicle. Complete pre-trip safety inspections daily with special attention to tires and brakes - your life depends on them. Ensure your load is well balanced and secure.
  9. Signal for Safety. Signal and brake early to alert other drivers of your intent. If you must pull off the road, use flashers, reflective triangles, and road flares.

*Download in English or Spanish at


CMV drivers are required by federal and state law to wear their seat belt. Failure to do so will result in a citation and affects both the driver’s and the company's safety score. Results of the 2016 seat belt survey revealed that more CMV drivers are buckling up. Seat belt usage rose from 58.79% in 2004 to 73.4% in 2008 to 82.8% in 2016.  (The next survey is scheduled for October 2021.)

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) shares the desire to promote safe driving around large trucks and has developed a video and other materials to share with teens. Go to or call 1-800-800-2358 to find out more information about how you can help share the message.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)'s mission is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. Go to to learn how to share the road safely.  Also check out their Kid Zone at to find tips and activities to help engage children with safety around large trucks and buses.  And check out their Teen Zone at to find tips and activities to help engage new or soon-to-be drivers as they learn the rules of the road.


To obtain 'Respect the Load. Share the Road' stickers or trailer decals for a CMV safety educational program, please contact Heather Luebbert with the MoDOT Highway Safety and Traffic Division by email at or by phone at (573) 751-5419.

2020 Statistics
129 People
killed in 2020 crashes involving CMVs.
19 Percent
killed in 2020 were occupants of CMVs.
41 Percent
of CMV drivers who were killed in 2020 were unbelted.
28 Percent
of those seriously injured in 2020 were occupants of CMVs.
Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs)
2019 Statistics
146 People
killed in 2019 crashes involving CMVs.
19 Percent
killed in 2019 were occupants of CMVs.
45 Percent
of CMV drivers who were killed in 2019 were unbelted.
25 Percent
of those seriously injured in 2019 were occupants of CMVs.
Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs)

Campaign Videos

Respect the Load. Share the Road.

CMV 2020-2021 (English Captioned) 

Respect the Load. Share the Road.

CMV 2020-2021 (Spanish Captioned) 

Respect the Load. Share the Road.

CMV 2020-2021 (:06 Bumper, English Captioned) 

Respect the Load. Share the Road.

CMV 2018-2019 (English) 

Respect the Load. Share the Road.

CMV 2018-2019 (Spanish Captioned) 

 Respect the Load. Share the Road.

CMV 2018-2019, Long Version (English Captioned)

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