The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance holds an annual event in October geared toward driver safety. This year during Operation Safe Driver Week, law enforcement throughout the United States and Canada increased their enforcement of traffic safety rules and educational efforts with the goal of raising awareness of dangerous driving behaviors.
Over the course of a week there were a total of 59,193 warnings and citations issued to commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers and passenger vehicle drivers. The warnings and citations given to CMV drivers numbered 38,878 while 20,315 were given to drivers of passenger vehicles.
Top Warnings and Citations Issued to Truck Drivers
The most common warning/citations for CMV drivers were for state and local moving violations. These accounted for 84.2 percent of the total. Speeding was second at 7.4 percent. Failure to use a seat belt came in third at 2.6 percent with failure to obey traffic control device a close fourth at 2.5 percent. Last in the top five was using a handheld phone which accounted for 0.8 percent of all CMV driver warning/citations.
During Operation Safe Driver Week there were also 86 warnings and 19 citations given to truck drivers for operating a vehicle while ill or fatigued. Strict regulations govern the Hours of Service that truck drivers may perform and when they must take rest breaks.
Driver Behavior and Crashes
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the critical factor in 93 percent of passenger vehicle crashes and more than 88 percent of large truck crashes is driver behavior. The Highway Loss Data Institute, part of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, reports that in 2015 3,852 people died in large truck crashes. Driver behavior that contributes to accidents includes distracted driving, aggressive driving, drunk driving, drowsy driving, and speeding.
Speeding, which was the second most common warning/citation given out during Operation Safe Driver week, is a major safety concern for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
In July, the NTSB started a campaign against speeding that includes increased enforcement of speed limits and the encouragement of wider use of intelligent speed systems. The NTSB hopes to be able to reduce the number of speed-related vehicle crashes across the country. Driving too fast affects the risk of an accident in two ways: the likelihood of being involved in a crash increases, as well as the severity of the injuries experienced by accident victims. The link between speed and severity of injury is a very direct one. Higher vehicle speed result in larger changes of velocity in the event of a crash and this directly affects injury severity, especially in a pedestrian accident.
Through education and enforcement, the Operation Safe Driver Program aims to reduce unsafe driving behaviors and reduce the number of crashes involving large trucks, buses, and passenger vehicles.
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