National Connections, Local Ownership
National Connections, Local Ownership

Operation Safe Driver Week: The One-Week Event that Should Be a 365-Day-a-Year Practice

Last year, 39,000 commercial vehicle drivers received citations or warnings during Operation Safe Driver Week. Will this year be any better?

Operation Safe Driver Week has been set by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) for July 15-21,2018. During this week, law enforcement personnel around the U.S. and Canada will be targeting unsafe driving behavior, issuing citations and warnings to both commercial vehicle and passenger vehicle drivers.

Pilot error is often blamed when an aircraft accident occurs. The same is true for trucks and passenger vehicles. According to an FMCSA study, 88% of large truck crashes and 93% of all passenger vehicle crashes are due to driver behavior (or perhaps a better term would be “driver misbehavior”). Driver error can be attributed to reckless driving, substance impairment (either alcohol or drugs), and fatigue. Distracted driving, especially for passenger vehicle drivers, due to technology (phone calls, texting, reading emails…all while driving) is also a cause that contributes to accidents. In fact, April is Distracted Driving Awareness month. (for more information on this topic, read the IdeaXchange blog by Jane Clark, Vice President of Member Services for NationaLease).

There were 39,000 citations and warnings passed out to commercial vehicle drivers during 2017’s Operation Safe Driver Week. Most of those citations and warnings were due to local and state moving violations; the rest consisted of speeding, failure to use a seat belt, failing to obey traffic control devices, and cell phone usage. Only 18 commercial drivers were cited for driving while fatigued or ill while 86 were given warnings for the same reason.

But one wonders what the numbers might have been if that extra law enforcement presence were undertaken without announcing when that increase would take place. It wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine those numbers might indeed rise. Every driver on the road, but especially commercial vehicle drivers, should always drive as though every week was Safe Driver Awareness week. Companies should constantly stress the importance of safe, focused driving and observation of local laws. When drivers are identified who have had citations or warnings, it may be necessary to offer additional training.

Our industry prides itself on its dedication to safety on the road. Your drivers may not be able to avoid every accident that occurs, but they should be able to ensure that their behavior did not play a role.

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