Distracted and other unsafe driving practices are dangerous enough when done by people in ordinary vehicles. When people do it behind the wheel of an 18 wheeler or other large commercial vehicles, the stakes are even higher.
That’s why this week, law enforcement across the U.S., Canada and Mexico are targeting truck and bus drivers by increasing roadside inspections and other initiatives to uncover road safety violations.
While many traffic accidents are truly accidents, too many road collisions are caused by preventable unsafe driving practices. Federal statistics show that poor and reckless driving decisions contribute to about 36,000 deaths in North America, more than 4,100 of which are related to truck or bus crashes.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) jointly launched the campaign in 2007. During last year’s campaign, police officers pulled over 74,765 drivers, 29,048 of which were commercial drivers. It was deemed a success, since the percentage of drivers pulled over for seat belt and speeding violations declined from the previous year.
According to the CVSA, 7.3 percent of all truck and bus drivers were cited or warned for speeding and 2.9 percent were cited for seat belt violations. In 2012, 10.8 percent were given a warning or citation for speeding and 3.8 percent were cited for seat belt violations.
There is also an educational element to the Operation Safe Driver campaign. Law enforcement and transportation safety officials are raising awareness by offering safety programs to motor carriers and the general public.
“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.