UMass SAFE TForce

Save Lives

Traffic Patrol Officers: Increase Bus/Truck Traffic Enforcement

Effective Traffic Stops

Cruiser/Officer Visibility

There are specific safety precautions for officers due to visibility issues.

Remain cautious of increased length, width and height
Leave room between cruiser and truck/bus
Check for blind spots/ oncoming traffic

Select the Location

Upon seeing cruiser lights, many drivers will continue until they find a suitable place to pull over. Others will stop right away and need to be led to a better location.

Avoid soft, narrow shoulders; overpasses and bridges; steep grades; curves; low lighting
If the driver pulls over in an unsafe location, obtain documents and lead them to a more suitable location

Approach Precautions

There are extra precautions when conducting truck/bus traffic enforcement.

Watch for oncoming traffic/utilize side mirrors for blind spots
Look for hazardous materials warnings/placards
Watch for passengers/animals in cab
Stop cruiser to the side of the commercial truck/bus so the driver can see you

Stopping Distance

Commercial trucks/buses require additional consideration of stopping time/distance.

A standard car traveling 60 mph has a stopping distance of half the length of football field 
An 80,000 lb. tractor-trailer traveling 60 mph has a stopping distance of length of football field
A motorcoach traveling 60 mph has a stopping distance of 66 yards (200 ft.)

Visibility: The No-Zone

The no-zone includes dangerous areas around a large truck/bus where crashes are more likely. 

Make sure you are not in the no zone
If you cannot see the driver's face in their side view mirror, they cannot see you
Avoid stopping too closely behind a truck on an upgrade, as the truck may roll back 

Driver's Condition

On approach, watch the driver in their side mirror; as this will provide information about the driver's safety belt usage, any passengers and any movements in the vehicle. Observe the driver's condition as you would for the driver of a passenger car.

Look for signs of impairment/fatigue
Watch for deceptive conduct
Look for safety belt usage

Bus Specific Procedures

A traffic stop involving a bus is similar to that of a large truck. Here are a few additional considerations. 

Passengers should not leave the vehicle
Interview the driver away from passengers
Children cannot be unsupervised
If children are present, the driver should be interviewed inside the vehicle

Interviewing the Driver

Interviewing the driver of a commercial truck/bus is similar to an interview with the driver of a passenger car.

Ask questions about the load, trip and vehicle
Listen and observe for any inconsistencies
Most stops are for basic moving violations
Contact MCSAP team for violations beyond standard traffic enforcement


If any of the following are involved, consider contacting your state's MCSAP team for assistance.

Truck safety is in question
Criminal activity is suspected
Possibility that the truck will have to be taken out of service

Re-entering Traffic

The stop is not over until the truck is back on the road safely.

When appropriate, back away from vehicle and enter lane allowing vehicle to start re-entry
Stay behind vehicle with lights flashing until vehicle gets up to speed
When appropriate, advise the driver to use the shoulder as an acceleration lane





The No-Zone