GREENBELT, Md. – Speeding accounted for about half of the infractions recorded during Operation Safe Driver Week from July 12-18, as enforcement teams across North America applied a special focus on unsafe driving behaviors.
About 66,400 drivers were found engaging in unsafe behaviors overall, leading to just over 71,300 warnings and citations.
The event marked the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) first enforcement initiative of the year, as other campaigns were postponed or canceled. Brake Safety Week initiatives ran from Aug. 23-29, while the annual Roadcheck blitz moved to Sept. 9-11.
Operation Safe Driver Week itself involved 3,681 enforcement officers from 55 Canadian and U.S. jurisdictions, interacting with 29,921 commercial motor vehicle drivers and 36,500 passenger vehicle drivers.
The commercial drivers were issued 4,659 citations and 6,077 warnings. Among those, speed accounted for 2,339 citations and 3,432 warnings. Passenger vehicle drivers received 17,329 citations and 14,792 warnings, with 14,378 of the citations and 11,456 warnings associated with speed.
The top five citations issued to commercial drivers included:
- 1. Speeding/violation of basic speed law/driving too fast for conditions – 2,339
2. Failure to use seat belt while operating commercial motor vehicle – 1,003
3. Failure to obey traffic control device – 617
4. Using a handheld phone/texting – 269
5. Improper lane change – 122
During Operation Safe Driver Week in 2019, the top five citations issued to commercial drivers included:
- 1. Speeding/violation of basic speed law/driving too fast for conditions – 1,454
2. Failure to use seat belt while operating commercial motor vehicle – 954
3. Failure to obey traffic control device – 426
4. Using a handheld phone/texting – 249
5. Improper lane change – 92
While failing to use seat belts is one of the top cited issues, the situation is improving. The overall use of seat belts for medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses is at a record high of 86%, CVSA reports. But in 2017, 13% of large truck occupants involved in fatal crashes were not wearing a safety belt. Forty-five percent of them were killed in the crash.
The number of people using a hand-held mobile device is still troubling, though. U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) research finds that commercial drivers are six times more likely to be involved in a safety-critical event like a crash, near crash, or unintentional lane deviation when dialing a mobile phone.
“Although CVSA is a commercial motor vehicle safety organization, it was important that passenger vehicle drivers were also involved in this annual week-long driver safety enforcement initiative,” said CVSA president John Samis, a sergeant with Delaware State Police. “When commercial motor vehicles and passenger vehicles collide, no matter who was at fault, the results can be catastrophic, especially for the smaller and lighter passenger vehicle. Preventing crashes from happening requires every driver – commercial and personal – to be aware of how to safely share the road with other types of vehicles.”