During the week of Oct. 19-25, 2014, law enforcement agencies across North America will engage in heightened traffic safety enforcement and education aimed at unsafe driving behaviors by both commercial motor vehicle and passenger-vehicle drivers during Operation Safe Driver Week, sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and with support from industry and a number of other transportation safety organizations.
In 2012, more than 4,100 people were killed and 126,000 were injured in large truck and bus crashes on our roadways. Many of those accidents are the direct result of the drivers – both truck and bus drivers, as well as the passenger-vehicle drivers operating unsafely around them. CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver program was created to help to combat the number of deaths resulting from crashes involving large trucks, buses and cars.
“This coordinated and far-reaching enforcement effort, coupled with the program’s education and awareness components for drivers of all vehicles, focuses on unsafe driving behaviors, which translates to fewer accidents and fatalities,” said CVSA President Captain Bill Reese with the Idaho State Police. “We commend our member jurisdictions and industry partners for their support of and participation in this important life-saving campaign. Together, we are making a difference.”
During Operation Safe Driver Week, activities will be held across the United States, Canada and Mexico with the goal of increasing commercial vehicle and non-commercial vehicle traffic enforcement, safety belt enforcement, driver roadside inspections and driver regulatory compliance.
In addition to enforcement, education is an important component of Operation Safe Driver Week. Law enforcement and transportation safety officials will offer educational and awareness safety programs to the motor carrier population and the motoring public.
“We know most of these roadway tragedies are preventable. We can save lives, prevent injuries and improve public safety by reinforcing the importance of sharing the road safely,” said CVSA Executive Director Stephen A. Keppler. “CVSA is committed to saving lives and the Operation Safe Driver program helps us do that.”
Last year, law enforcement officers stopped 74,765 commercial and passenger vehicle drivers during the 2013 Operation Safe Driver mobilization week; nearly triple the 26,487 stopped during the 2012 event. The top three reasons warnings and citations were issued to both commercial and non-commercial vehicle drivers were: (1) speeding, (2) failing to use a safety belt, and (3) failure to obey traffic control devices.
“Whether you are a professional truck or bus driver, a parent shuttling your kids to school, or a newly licensed teenager, we want you to arrive at your destination safely, “said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling. “Operation Safe Driver emphasizes the importance of everyone sharing the road safely; always give large vehicles plenty of room maneuver, never linger in ‘No Zones’ (the blind spots where your vehicle cannot be seen by another driver), be courteous, and never text or allow yourself to become distracted while behind the wheel.”
“Operation Safe Driver is a critical and invaluable tool to help teen drivers and commercial motor vehicle drivers prepare the most important safety tools they have available – their mind, driving attitude and driving aptitude,” said Brian W. Neal, Senior Manager, Corporate Safety, FedEx Ground Corporate Headquarters. “This program makes our roadways safer for everyone.”
Official Kickoff Event in Colorado for Operation Safe Driver Week 2014
A press conference and safety demonstrations are scheduled for 10:00 am on Monday, Oct. 20, 2014, in Denver, Colorado, to officially launch the 2014 North American-wide Operation Safe Driver mobilization week.
Other events also planned for Operation Safe Driver Week include:
- October 20 – Hammonton, New Jersey
A combined classroom and outdoor hands-on educational event will be held at Hammonton High School to teach young drivers about the dangers of distracted driving and show them how to drive safely around large trucks and buses.
- October 24 – Grand Prairie, Texas
Operation Safe Driver Educational Event organized by the Grand Prairie Police.
For more details on the Colorado, Texas or New Jersey Operation Safe Driver Week events, email cvsahqcvsa.org/.
To find out about Operation Safe Driver Week educational and awareness events going on in your state, contact the Commercial Vehicle Safety Division within your local state police department.