Operation Safe Driver traffic enforcement campaign underway

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | 10/22/2013

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is conducting a weeklong enforcement campaign nationwide targeting aggressive and distracted drivers.

CVSA Executive Director Steve Keppler said the organization’s Operation Safe Driver campaign is hoping to make contact with at least 30,000 drivers during the week of Oct.20-26. The campaign will target both commercial and non-commercial vehicle drivers, with an emphasis on enforcing speeding, texting while driving, seat belt usage and unsafe driving behaviors.

“Roadcheck is more broadly about CMV safety and all aspects of CMV safety, whereas Operation Safe Driver is focused specifically on driving behaviors,” Keppler said in an interview with Land Line on Tuesday. “We’re focusing more on traffic enforcement than roadside inspections.”

Keppler said drivers can expect to see increased enforcement from CVSA members on interstates and on side roads, “where they are seeing particular problems.”

“Each state is a little different in terms of their enforcement footprint,” he said. “Some of them are purely mobile operations; some of them have a mix of fixed inspection locations. Many of them will be targeting their activities in high-crash quarters where they’re seeing the data is pointing them to.”

In 2012, Operation Safe Driver had more than 26,000 contacts with drivers at 1,245 locations in the U.S. and Canada. Nearly 20,400 of those were with commercial vehicle drivers, almost 11 percent of whom were issued either a warning or a citation for speeding. According to 2012 data, nearly 60 percent of 6,089 non-commercial drivers were issued either a citation or a warning for speeding. The second most common warning or citation issued was for failing to use a seat belt.

Keppler said young drivers are particularly a group which CVSA hopes to reach, not just on the roads, but also through the means of educational material and events held at schools.

“We’ve got a couple of educational kits we’ve developed to help instruct youth drivers in particular,” he said. “In the large truck-related fatal crashes, 26 percent of the fatals are drivers between the ages of 16 and 25; that’s the non-CMV drivers. … That is one of the major target audiences of the program.”

In addition to the increasing enforcement on the roads, Keppler said the outreach to young drivers this week will include presentations at schools in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

“The message to (young drivers) is twofold,” he said. “One, how to operate safely around trucks. And two, don’t drive distracted. Obviously if they’re out there driving and they’re operating unsafely, they’re going to get ticketed like everybody else. But we’ve also got a major education component to the youth drivers.”

More information about the program is available here.

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