Drivers’ actions contributed to a staggering 94 percent of all traffic crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) 2015 Traffic Safety Facts report.
In response to this issue, law enforcement personnel will be on the lookout for commercial motor vehicle drivers and passenger vehicle drivers engaging in dangerous driver behaviors through July 20 as part of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Operation Safe Driver Week. Drivers engaging in unsafe driving behaviors will be pulled over by law enforcement and may be issued a warning and/or citation.
- In 2017, speeding was a contributing factor in 26 percent of all traffic fatalities, according to NHTSA. That’s 9,717 lives lost due to speeding.
- During last year’s Operation Safe Driver Week, 16,909 passenger vehicle drivers and 1,908 commercial motor vehicle drivers were issued citations for speeding. In addition, 17 commercial motor vehicle drivers and 714 passenger vehicle drivers were cited for driving too fast for the conditions.
- According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute, speeding has been a factor in more than a quarter of crash deaths since 2008.
- According FMCSA’s 2016 Large Truck and Bus Facts, speeding of any kind was the most frequent driver-related crash factor for drivers of commercial motor vehicles and passenger vehicles.
For these reasons, CVSA selected speeding as the emphasis area for this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week and law enforcement jurisdictions throughout North America will be endorsing, promoting and supporting the following message: Late won’t kill you, speeding will.
“For more than two decades, speeding has been involved in nearly one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities,” said CVSA President Chief Jay Thompson with the Arkansas Highway Police. “That is unacceptable, especially because it’s preventable. We will continue to educate the public on the dangers of speeding and we will identify individuals who are speeding on our roadways and may issue citations as a deterrent to future speeding tendencies and to affect diver behavior.”
In addition to the emphasis on speeding, law enforcement personnel will be tracking other dangerous driver behaviors throughout Operation Safe Driver Week, such as distracted driving, texting, failure to use a seatbelt, following too closely, improper lane change, reckless or aggressive driving, failure to obey traffic control devices, evidence of drunk or drugged driving, etc.
A 2014 study, titled “Do Traffic Tickets Reduce Motor Vehicle Accidents? Evidence from a Natural Experiment,” investigated whether traffic violation enforcement actually reduces the number of motor vehicle crashes. The study’s author used one of the best-known enforcement programs, Click It or Ticket, which focuses on mandating seat belt use and ticketing violators. The study found that the Click It or Ticket campaign decreased motor vehicle crashes by roughly 11 percent and found that a 1 percent increase in citations issued led to a 0.28 percent decline in motor vehicle crashes. The ticketing campaign also reduced the number of non-fatal injuries from motor vehicle crashes.
“As unpopular as traffic citations are among drivers, we know that driver behavior does respond to contacts with law enforcement and warnings and citations,” said Chief Thompson. “Roadway safety is our top priority and this traffic enforcement initiative supports our goal of making sure everyone driving on our roadways is doing so safely.”
CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver Program was created to help to reduce the number of crashes, deaths and injuries involving large trucks, buses and passenger vehicles due to unsafe driving behaviors. Operation Safe Driver Week is sponsored by CVSA, in partnership with FMCSA and with support from industry and transportation safety organizations. The initiative aims to help improve the behavior of all drivers operating in an unsafe manner – either in or around commercial motor vehicles – through educational and traffic enforcement strategies to address individuals exhibiting high-risk driving behaviors.
To find out about Operation Safe Driver Week enforcement events going on in your area, contact the agency or department responsible for overseeing commercial motor vehicle safety within your jurisdiction.