East Texas truck drivers encouraging motorists to pay attention to avoid accidents

(Source: KTRE Staff)
(Source: KTRE Staff)
(Source: KTRE Staff)
(Source: KTRE Staff)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - In the wake of two fatal unrelated accidents involving 18-wheelers within the past few days, an East Texas truck driver who has been driving big rigs for six years said before he hits the road, he takes steps to make sure he can do so safely.

"Do your walk around inspections first, check your tires, air, whenever you start your truck," L.P. Lewis said

Paying attention is the best way for everyone to stay safe.

"Drivers that aren't paying attention aren't watching the road all the time and it's very dangerous," said Michael Key, truck driver.

Three people were killed this week in accidents involving 18-wheelers. On Wednesday, a Missouri truck driver was killed after he drove off of the road on U.S. 59 south of Nacogdoches, and his big rig rolled over and struck a large billboard. Two Wisconsin women were killed Tuesday after their car collided with the back of an 18-wheeler on Lufkin's South First Street.

"It simply means she wasn't paying attention to what was going on around her because the truck was stopped," said Bonnie Bonin, a truck driving instructor.

Bonin, who has been teaching for seven years, said drivers often take chances because they don't the danger of oncoming trucks.

"The trucks are bigger than you; they move slower, and they hit harder," Bonin said.

"It's a big load so its hard to stop and people see trucks way off they think I'm going to beat them and next thing you know they end up on them," Lewis said.

Michael Key said he's been driving trucks for more than 30 years. He said he sees a lot of texting during his time on the road.

"Would you want us doing the same thing, driving around 50,000 pounds of steel? I don't think you would," Key said.

Bonin warned drivers as more traffic hits the road this summer to look twice and give trucks plenty of room to prevent avoidable accidents.

"Take your time and be patient. You'll get there a lot faster and a lot safer," Bonin said.

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