The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance reports that while its annual Operation Safe Driver education and enforcement blitz did see improvements in the number of out of service violations and citations, there was an increase in moving traffic warnings and citations
for all drivers.

The results show more work is needed to educate both passenger and commercial vehicle drivers about operating their vehicles more safely, CVSA says.

Data collected during the third annual Operation Safe Driver campaign, Oct. 18-24, 2009, reveals that while some aspects of driver and vehicle violations were down from 2008 with respect to safety inspections, there was an increase in 2009 in traffic enforcement warnings and citations issued for truck, bus and passenger vehicle violations.

Operation Safe Driver resulted in 30,294 commercial motor vehicle roadside Inspections. Of those, 5.4 percent resulted in the driver being placed out-of-service; 26.1 percent of the Level I Inspections resulted in the vehicle(s) being placed out of service. In 2008, there were 32,708 inspections conducted and a driver OOS rate of 5.3 percent.

There were 20,198 CMV Driver Traffic Enforcement Contacts: 6,887 warnings were issued (0.34 per contact); 8,067 citations were issued (0.40 per contact); In 2008, there were 16,784 contacts, which resulted in 3,247 warnings (0.19 per contact) and 6,143 citations (0.37 per contact)

On the four-wheeler side, there were 10,928 Non-CMV Driver Traffic Enforcement Contacts, which resulted in 3,818 warnings issued (0.35 per contact), and 10,365 citations issued (0.95 per contact). In 2008, there were 11,151 contacts, which resulted in 1,808 warnings (0.16 per contact) and 8,405 citations (0.75 per contact)

In addition, 102 targeted Compliance Reviews were conducted on truck and motorcoach operations that employ the "worst of the worst" commercial drivers. Of the reviews resulting in a safety rating (74), 18 carriers (or 24.3 percent) received a Conditional Safety Rating. (compared to the national average of carriers rated Conditional in 2009 was 27.3 percent); and, nine carriers (or 12.2 percent) received an Unsatisfactory Safety Rating (the national average of carriers rated unsatisfactory in 2009 was 3.3 percent).

This year's event included 5,231 law enforcement personnel at 1,177 locations across the United States and Canada.

The campaign, created in 2007 by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, addresses the problem of improving the behavior of all drivers operating in an unsafe manner - either in or around commercial vehicles - and to take aggressive enforcement action on those exhibiting high-risk behaviors.

"Every day inspectors and law enforcement personnel strive to remove those 'bad actors,' whether they are truck, bus, or car drivers, from our roads," said Steve Keppler, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's interim executive director. "And while we are making progress in some areas, the data show that we still have some work to do. Law enforcement officers also are acutely aware that education is a core component of enhancing highway safety, and in this regard are being more proactive in their efforts," said Keppler.

"The Operation Safe Driver Campaign reminds us that while we have seen steady progress in the areas of commercial vehicle and highway safety, there is still more we must do to promote safe driving practices," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. "To achieve this goal, the safety enforcement, safety advocacy and motor carrier communities must continue to work together to raise awareness and enhance enforcement so that we can ensure a high standard of road safety, reduce crashes and save lives."

This year, CVSA and FMCSA expanded the campaign to incorporate many new educational outreach efforts, including:

* a kick-off campaign held at Walt Whitman, a Washington D.C. area high school;

* a training course called "Teens & Trucks" focusing on the unsafe and distracted driving practices around large trucks by young car drivers was given to more than 2,000 students across the U.S. and developed by the Arizona Trucking Association, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, CVSA, FMCSA and the American Trucking Associations;

* a two-part podcast series on distracted driving for CVSA's In the Safety Lane; and,

* a public service announcement that was developed and aired nationwide.

Program and event partners include the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, American Trucking Associations, Governors Highway Safety Association, United Motorcoach Association, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, National District Attorneys Association and Arizona Trucking Association.

Many jurisdictions conducted a series of educational activities focused on driver-related issues. For example, in California the Highway Patrol conducted safety training for individual companies, a truck rodeo, and presentations at several large truck shows in addition to media events they held in association with the California Trucking Association, and the Insurance Information Network of California. During a news conference live vehicle demonstrations were conducted and included expert drivers to point out the dangers of blind spots and the stopping distance of large commercial vehicles verses that of passenger cars. On the enforcement front, a number of jurisdictions conducted TACT (Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks) operations during the week.

CVSA is an international not-for-profit organization made up of local, state, provincial, territorial and federal motor carrier safety officials and industry representatives from the United States, Canada and Mexico.