September 24, 2012
The week of Oct. 14-20, law enforcement across North America will target unsafe drivers during Operation Safe Driver, a program sponsored by CVSA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration with support from a number of other organizations, including FedEx Corp.Each year, more than 36,000 people die on the roadways throughout North America-nearly 4,000 of which are related to large trucks and buses, say the organizers. Many are the direct result of aggressive and unsafe driving by truck and bus drivers, as well as by the passenger car drivers operating unsafely around them. This fatality figure equates to more deaths than a 737 airplane crashing every two weeks for a year. "We are calling on all drivers to make a difference, reduce unsafe and distracted driving behaviors and help us save lives across North America with this annual mobilization week," says Stephen A. Keppler, CVSA's executive director. "The truth is that most of these accidents are avoidable. That's why taking aggressive enforcement action as well as educating both passenger vehicle drivers and truck and bus drivers is a priority for CVSA; this program can and will save lives." Updated Educational Materials for Teens and PSAs A revised edition of the "Teens & Trucks: Curbing Distracted Driving" curriculum will be unveiled prior to the launch of Operation Safe Driver Week. This is an update to the Teens & Trucks curriculum produced several years ago, which will teach teen drivers how to adapt many of the same tactics used by professional drivers to reduce or eliminate on-road distractions. The DVD also teaches teens and other drivers about the operating characteristics of large trucks, and explains how to safely share the road with them by staying out of the truck's "NO Zones" or blind spots. "Teens & Trucks: Curbing Distracted Driving" includes a 23-minute DVD and a CD containing a handout of key tips for reducing distractions, a "no-texting, no-distracted-driving" pledge form for teen drivers and their parents, instructor guidelines and two radio public service announcements that state agencies can tag with their own identifier. "Defeating Distracted Driving," the educational training program released in 2011, will also be promoted and distributed for Operation Safe Driving Week. This kit includes a DVD, two 30-second PSAs, a tri-fold handout, a PowerPoint instructional kit, talking points and model policies for motor carriers about the dangers of distracted driving for use by fleets, driving schools and other outlets. All three of these training programs were developed in collaboration with the Arizona Transportation Education Foundation and Arizona Department of Public Safety with funding support from FMCSA.Currently, two additional events are planned for the Operation Safe Driver mobilization week. The first event is scheduled for Oct. 15 in White Plains, N.Y. Another event will take place in Harrison, Ark., Oct. 16.