With driver safety maintaining itself as a priority, fleet owners and truck drivers can better prepare for the annual Operation Safe Driver Week.
What’s included in this article:
What is Operation Safe Driver Week 2021
How to stay safe while driving, pointers from the professionals.
Impact from the 2020 Operation Safe Driver Week
Operation Safe Driver Week is sponsored by CVSA, in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. It also has the support from the motor carrier industry and transportation safety organizations. This year Operation Safe Driver Week will take place from July 11th through July 17th.
This week-long outreach program is designed to educate commercial vehicle drivers about driving carefully. Through interactions, law enforcement and periodic spot checks, CVSA officers hope to correct inappropriate driving behaviors. Data shows that traffic tickets and interrogational contact with law enforcement reduces dangerous driving mannerisms.
Making the North American roadways safer has always been a main priority of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA). Like their efforts last year, the law enforcement officers will interact with drivers through Operation Safe Driver Week 2021 to re-instill safe driving practices.
Over one hundred and fifty thousand crashes have occurred in North America in 2020 according to the safety progress report by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA). Approximately 50% of them result in injuries and over 3% result in fatalities.
Dangerous driving habits including speeding and unsafe driving, distracted driving, improper lane changes, following too closely, failure to use a seat belt and driving under influence of alcohol or drugs will be monitored. Other driver violations that would be scrutinized include mirror equipment violations, expired license plate tags and inoperative lamps.
The imperative focus will continue to be on speeding this year, as it remains the number one reason for a crash. In fact, speeding has been a factor in more than a quarter of crash deaths since 2008.
How To Prepare and Stay Safe This Year
Before Operation Safe Driver Week begins, take some time to do a thorough pre-trip inspection and follow everyday safe driving habits.
Pay attention to your surroundings and do not lose focus on what’s on the road around you.
Keep a safe following distance irrespective of who is in front of you. A trailer with up to 80,000 pounds of goods in the trailer will take more seconds than usual to come to a full halt.
Check your side mirrors often for vehicles entering your ‘no zones’ and be aware of vehicles that may be tailgating.
Don’t get distracted by non-driving objects.
Wear seatbelts and avoid use of hand-held devices. Most importantly, don’t go past the speed limits.
Don’t try to fight fatigue. Take periodic breaks and keep track of your hours of service.
Ensure that all the components of your tractor-trailer are working and are in a well-maintained condition.
Carry the necessary paperwork (license, insurance, duty logs, papers for the goods onboard).
Impact of Operation Safe Driver Week 2020
The 2020 edition of Operation Safe Driver Week saw 71,343 warnings and citations being issued across the US and Canada. Speeding was cited as the highest offense amongst commercial motor vehicle drivers. Over 50% of the notices in the commercial vehicle segment were issued for speeding violations.
A survey by the FMCSA showed that the chance of an accident is six times greater for drivers who use mobile devices when driving. In 2020, 4.35% of the violations were for using hand-held devices while driving. Penalties can be up to $2,750 for drivers and up to $11,000 for employers who use a hand-held device while driving.
Failure to use a seat belt while operating a commercial motor vehicle was the second most identified traffic enforcement offense. It accounts for 12.51% of all warnings and 21.53% of all citations given to drivers last year.
In the last year, passenger vehicle drivers were found to have received three times as many violations as commercial motors vehicle drivers. This implies that the commercial truck drivers follow more stringent company policies and are more aware of safe driving practices.
While this is encouraging, there is still a persistent problem with speeding and reckless driving, that needs to be addressed with constant monitoring.
Driver safety is a priority not only for the CSVA but for law enforcement and transportation management as well. The positive impacts of previous Operation Safe Driver Weeks give a sense of motivation towards future successes in safe driving.