The blind spot directly behind 18 wheelers where tailgaters in cars create dangerous situations.
Starting Monday, the Colorado State Patrol will step up enforcement as part of a new safety campaign to prevent collisions between the motoring public and the commercial truck fleet.
Last year, No Zone violations were a leading cause of the 968 crashes in Colorado between cars and trucks. Fifty of those accidents resulted in fatalities.
“Well over half the time, the cars were responsible for the crash, not the truck driver,” says James Wolfinbarger, chief of the Colorado State Patrol.
On Thursday, the Patrol launched a campaign called TACT, Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks.
Wolfinbarger explained a team of his troopers will begin riding in unmarked big rigs looking for unsafe drivers. Violators will be videotaped and ticketed by nearby patrol units.
A No Zone violation is classified as following too close.
A ticket results in four points against your drivers license and a fine of $111, according to Patrol public information officer Sgt. Rocco Domenico.
The trooper teamed up with Dean Matteo, a professional truck driver, to show a CBS camera crew how motorists get in trouble around big rigs
With Matteo behind the wheel of a big rig and Domenico driving an unmarked patrol car, they made one run through Mount Vernon Canyon on eastbound Interstate 70 west of Morrison. Truckers there are required to stay to the right and limit their speed to 35 mph.
It didn’t take long before a compact car made an unsafe pass and basically cut the truck off.
“People don’t understand it’s a dangerous situation for one of these (trucks) to get away from you,” says Matteo, gripping his wheel.
Near the bottom of the hill, a dark pickup began tailgating the big rig.
“That gentleman’s definitely in the No Zone,” said Domenico.
How do you stay out of the No Zone?
Domenico says keep enough distance behind the truck so the side view mirrors are visible. That way you know the trucker can see you. If you’re so close to the truck that you can’t spot those mirrors, you’re in the No Zone and — beginning Monday — could be ticketed by the patrol.
The areas of enforcement will be the “metro corridors,” says Wolfinbarger. That means I-70 west of Denver and Interstate 25 north of the city.
The campaign continues through October.