Although substantial progress is being made in driving down commercial motor vehicle-related deaths, enforcement across North America will come down hard on those caught driving aggressively during Operation Safe Driver, October 17-23.

The campaign, organized by Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier's Safety Administration, targets passenger car drivers as well as commercial ones.

"Inattention, poor awareness of traffic conditions and unsafe maneuvers by drivers are leading causes of fatal crashes between passenger cars and commercial vehicles, according to the FMCSA," explained Steve Keppler, CVSA's executive director. "While overall, highway crashes and fatalities are declining, poor driver behaviors are increasing - and not just among truck and motorcoach operators, mind you, but car drivers as well."

Operation Safe Driver holds activities across the United States, Canada and Mexico to heighten traffic enforcement of both commercial and passenger vehicles, safety belt enforcement, roadside commercial vehicle and driver safety inspections, as well as educational and awareness programs for the motoring public about safe operations around big trucks and buses.

CVSA and its partners are also developing Defeating Distracted Driving, a short educational program with a DVD, two :30-second PSAs, a tri-fold handout, a PowerPoint, talking points and model policies for motor carriers about the dangers of distracted driving for use by fleets, driving schools and other outlets. The program is directed at commercial vehicle drivers and its goal is to raise awareness of the risks associated with texting, e-mailing, using portable electronic devices, and other distractions while driving.

"The Operation Safe Driver campaign reminds us that it only takes a moment of distraction, inattention or carelessness to trigger a crash with devastating consequences. Every commercial truck and bus driver, and those who share the road with them, have a responsibility to always put safety first," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro.

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. Its mission is to promote commercial motor vehicle safety and security by providing leadership to enforcement, industry and policy makers.