The 2021 edition of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA)’s Operation Safe Driver Week was July 11-17, 2021, and carrier safety staff should prepare drivers for the event's enforcement focus — speeding — in 2021 and beyond.
In announcing the 2021 event, CVSA cited speed-related data from the National Safety Council (NSC), and highlighted an estimated 24 percent increase in the roadway death rate in 2020. In fact, CVSA said the 2020 death rate increase was the highest estimated year-over-year jump the NSC has calculated in 96 years!
What Operation Safe Driver Week is All About
Operation Safe Driver Week is different from CVSA’s annual Roadcheck inspection blitz in two important ways.
First, Operation Safe Driver Week is a traffic safety education and enforcement effort focused on unsafe driving behaviors, and not on the mechanical systems and components of the truck.
Second, and importantly, it’s a broader effort aimed at all drivers. State and Provincial law enforcement officials involved in Operation Safe Driver Week are looking for high risk driving behaviors of passenger vehicle drivers as well as professional CMV drivers.
In addition to speeding, other high-risk driving behaviors enforcement personnel will focus on include distracted driving, texting while driving, following too closely, improper lane changes, failure to obey traffic control devices, and failing to use a seat belt.
Key Insights from the 2020 Event
As fleets communicate regular safety messages to their drivers, and prepare them for this annual, weeklong traffic safety event, it may be helpful to share information and data on the most commonly cited unsafe behaviors during last year’s Operation Safe Driver Week.
In 2020, more than 21,988 citations, and 20,869 warnings, were issued to all drivers (CMV and passenger vehicle drivers), and the top five unsafe behaviors of CMV drivers were:
1. Speeding/Violation of Basic Speed Law/Too Fast for Conditions – 2,339 citations
2. Failure to Use Seat Belt – 1,003 citations
3. Failure to Obey Traffic Control Device – 617 citations
4. Using a Handheld Phone/Texting – 269 citations
5. Improper Lane Change – 122 citations
Truck drivers operating unsafely will typically be pulled over on the shoulder of the road/highway. Shoulder locations can often be an unsafe or tricky environment for both the driver and the police officer. Drivers should stay in their truck waiting for the officer to approach their vehicle.
Other Helpful Tips for Drivers
Drivers should also be aware of the need for officers to see their hands as they approach and, as such, it’s usually a good idea for drivers to keep their hands on the wheel. Reaching around the truck cab for insurance documents, a bill of lading and a wallet containing a CDL is not a good idea as the officer is approaching.
Drivers showing respect toward the law enforcement officer goes a long way to making a traffic stop a smooth event for the driver. Enforcement stops can be frustrating and, at times, scary for the driver and the officer.
Drivers should be reminded that police officers are doing an important job--enforcing highway safety laws for everyone involved, including them. Drivers should also be reminded that law enforcement officers risk their lives each day in the work they do.
Keep Your Fleet Safe and Compliant with Trimble
The annual instance of Operation Safe Driver Week is a good reminder of the importance of safety and compliance in the transportation industry. But these two topics are critical to your fleet’s success every day of the year.
Interested in learning more about how you can take your safety and compliance efforts to the next level with Trimble? Connect with us today to learn more about how Trimble’s wide range of fleet management solutions can help you not only improve your safety and regulatory compliance but enhance the overall productivity of your fleet and drivers.