In 2020, traffic fatalities increased, despite a decrease in travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The reduction in vehicles on the road should have painted a brighter picture, but it did not.  

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the estimated rate of traffic fatalities in 2020 increased by 24% from the previous year, despite a 13% decrease in miles traveled. This increase is the largest annual jump estimated by the NSC in 96 years. More than 42,060 people are estimated to have died on U.S. roads, while an estimated 4.8 million people were seriously injured in these accidents. 

As a result, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has decided to focus on speeding during Operation Safe Driver Week. The operation will run from July 11 to 17, 2021, in the United States, Canada and Mexico. 

What is Operation Safe Driver Week? 

Operation Safe Driver Week is a CVSA program that aims to reduce unsafe driving behaviors by educating drivers on how to share the road.  

The program was launched in 2007 in collaboration with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to reduce the number of deaths and injuries resulting from crashes involving commercial and passenger vehicles due to unsafe driving behaviors. 

Why Speeding as a Theme This Year? 

The results of the operation’s 2020 edition revealed that speeding was the number one traffic violation for commercial vehicle drivers. 

 2,339 speeding tickets and 3,423 warnings were issued in a single week. 

“Late won’t kill you, Speeding will.”  

That’s what the poster for the 2021 edition of Operation Safe Driver Week reads. It also displays these hard-hitting facts: 

  • Speeding was a factor in 26% of all traffic fatalities in 2018, killing 9,378 people or an average of more than 25 people per day. 
    Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration  

  • Data shows that even a 10 mph (16 km/h) increase in speed ups the risk of a crash by 9.1%. 
    Source: Fortune  

  • Speeding continues to be the number one cited driver-related factor in highway fatal crashes. 
    Source : Bureau of Transportation Statistics. 

Reducing Risky Driving Behaviors  

Why are driver behaviors under focus? According to NHTSA, their actions contribute to 94% of all traffic accidents.  

Throughout Operation Safe Driver Week, in addition to speeding, law enforcement personnel will be tracking other unsafe behaviors such as unsafe or aggressive driving, distracted driving, tailgating, improper lane change, failure to obey traffic control devices, failure to use a seat belt, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, etc. 

What Can be Done to Make the Road safer? 

“Data shows that traffic enforcement interactions between drivers and law enforcement reduces targeted problematic behaviors,” said Sgt. John Samis, president of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) with the Delaware State Police. “By reaching out to drivers during Operation Safe Driver Week, law enforcement aims to make our roads safer by targeting high-risk driving behaviors. 

Technology also helps to proactively identify and assess risks, and prevent accidents. Telematics and telemetry data help create a safety culture within transportation companies.  

For example, a robust and comprehensive telematics system can alert drivers in real time to sudden maneuvers. This includes hard braking, hard turns and speeding. By becoming aware of their risky behaviors on the spot, they can immediately adjust their driving. 

Thanks to the data, fleet managers are able to better train their drivers. They can proactively intervene with people who demonstrate unsafe driving behaviors. 

Conclusion 

Sharing the road safely is essential. Truckers need to be focused on their driving and respond professionally to changing traffic and situations.  

Browse CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver Week resources: https://www.cvsa.org/fr/programs/operation-safe-driver/cmv-driver-resources/  

Remember: Keep your eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, head in the game.  

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