CVSA focused on speeding in this year's Operation Safe Driver Week. - HDT/Canva Graphic

CVSA focused on speeding in this year's Operation Safe Driver Week.

HDT/Canva Graphic

Speeding continues to be the top warning handed out to both commercial vehicle drivers and passenger drivers during CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver Week. But among CMV drivers, when it comes to actual tickets, speeding dropped to number 2 on the list this year.

Law enforcement officers in Canada and the U.S. initiated nearly 11,500 traffic stops of commercial motor vehicle drivers and passenger vehicle drivers who were engaging in unsafe driving behaviors during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s Operation Safe Driver Week July 10-16.

Officers issued nearly 4,500 tickets/citations and more than 5,700 warnings to drivers, commercial motor vehicle and passenger vehicle drivers combined:

  • CMV drivers: Nearly 4,600 warnings and more than 2,600 tickets/citations.
  • Passenger vehicle drivers: More than 1,160 warnings and 1,860 tickets/citations.

Thirty-eight U.S. states and Canadian provinces participated in this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week, a voluntary traffic-enforcement and educational campaign.

In the U.S., officers issued 4,329 warnings and 2,258 tickets/citations to commercial motor vehicle drivers, and 1,063 warnings and 1,503 tickets/citations to passenger vehicle drivers.

Speed Kills

Speeding, the focus area for this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week, was a top infraction for both commercial motor vehicle drivers and passenger vehicle drivers. Combined, more than 2,200 warnings and more than 2,000 citations/tickets were issued for speeding.

  • Commercial motor vehicle drivers: More than 1,500 warnings and 700-plus tickets/citations.
  • Passenger vehicle drivers: 625 warnings and nearly 1,300 citations/tickets.

Speeding accounts for nearly one-third of all fatalities on roadways, said CVSA. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding-related fatalities increased 8% from 2020 to 2021, with 12,330 people killed in 2021 in speeding-related crashes, representing 29% of all traffic fatalities in 2021.

Speeding also was the focus of the 2022 Safe Driver Week, topping warnings and citations for both commercial and passenger car vehicles. Last year, CMV drivers received close to 2,600 warnings and nearly 1,500 citations.

This year, in citations, speeding fell to the number two spot for commercial drivers, with “Other state/local driver violations” at number one.

State/Local Driver Violations

Drivers were given warnings or issued tickets/citations for “other state/local driver violations." This includes violations such as no registration certificate, no proof of insurance, size and weight violations, defective equipment, etc., which are violations officers usually discover after they have pulled over a driver for another infraction.

This was the No. 1 reason for tickets/citations for commercial motor vehicle drivers, with 785 violations, and No. 2 for passenger vehicle drivers with 225 citations.

Commercial drivers received close to 1,300 warnings for these types of violations; passenger vehicle drivers had 252 warnings.

Seat Belts

Another top unsafe driving behavior was failure to wear a seat belt, with more than 500 warnings and more than 550 tickets/citations issued altogether.

Commercial motor vehicle drivers received more than 450 warnings and close to 470 tickets/citations for not wearing their seat belt. It was No. 3 on the list of citations/tickets for CMV drivers.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, an estimated 14% of commercial motor vehicle drivers do not wear their seat belt. In 2020 alone, nearly half of all large truck occupants not wearing a seat belt in crashes died.

Texting and Handhelds

Texting or using a handheld device was another top violation. A total of 243 warnings and 262 tickets/citations were issued to drivers who were texting or using a mobile device while driving.

  • Passenger vehicle drivers: 87 warnings and 130 tickets/citations.
  • Commercial motor vehicle drivers: 156 warnings and 132 tickets/citations.

The Department of Transportation restricts the use of all handheld mobile devices by commercial motor vehicle drivers.

NHTSA’s 2023 report states that 3,522 people were killed and an estimated 362,415 people were injured in crashes involving distracted drivers in the U.S.

Research shows that the odds of being involved in a safety-critical event (e.g., crash, near-crash, unintentional lane deviation) are six times greater for commercial motor vehicle drivers who engage in dialing a mobile phone while driving than for those who do not.

Top 5 Citations/Tickets Issued to CMV Drivers in U.S.

  1. Other state/local driver violations
  2. Speeding
  3. Failure to wear a seat belt
  4. Failure to obey traffic control device
  5. Texting/Using a handheld device

Top 5 Warnings Issued to CMV Drivers in U.S.

  1. Speeding
  2. Other state/local driver violations
  3. Failure to obey traffic control device
  4. Failure to wear a seat belt
  5. Texting/Using a handheld device

Top 5 Warnings and Citations/Tickets for Passenger Car Drivers in U.S.

  1. Speeding
  2. Other state/local driver violations
  3. Texting/using a handheld device
  4. Failure to wear a seat belt
  5. Failure to obey traffic control device

Safe Driver Education

In addition to traffic stops, safe-driving awareness, outreach and education are major components of Operation Safe Driver Week.

CVSA mailed nearly 65,000 complimentary Operation Safe Driver Week postcards to inspectors and motor carriers for distribution in the weeks leading up to and during Operation Safe Driver Week.

It also worked with the Paramount/CBS network to educate passenger vehicle drivers about safely sharing the roads with large trucks. The campaign included videos, digital ad banners, and video and static awareness ads, which were featured on websites, CBS’s digital streaming channels, at department of motor vehicles offices across the country, and on social media.

Other outreach and educational efforts included officers:

  • Handing out visor cards to drivers
  • Offering seminars and awareness courses to trucking associations
  • Delivering driver improvement courses to passenger vehicle drivers
  • Working with local television and radio media to get the word out about the traffic-enforcement week and unsafe driving behaviors
  • Partnering with motor carriers to ride in large trucks or motorcoaches for a better vantage point to identify drivers operating unsafely for law enforcement intervention
  • Extending roadside inspection shifts during the week to have more officers on roadways
  • Allowing ride-alongs to members of the media and transportation safety leaders

Next year’s Operation Safe Driver Week is scheduled for July 7-13, 2024.

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