The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has released the results from this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week, showing nearly double the amount of citations handed out to commercial drivers compared to 2016.
This year 38,878 citations and warnings were issued to CMV drivers, compared to 20,648 last year. Most of these citations were for state and local moving violations, making up as much as 84% of the total. This is up as well from 2016, when state and local violations made up slightly more than half of citations and warnings at 57%.
The top five reasons for citations and warnings saw significant changes percentage wise, but stayed in nearly the same order of frequency. After state and local moving violations, speeding was the second most common violation, followed by failing to use a seat belt, failing to obey traffic control devices, and using a cell phone. Seat belt violations moved up a slot compared to last year, but was just barely more common than violations stemming from failing to obey traffic control devices at 2.6% compared to 2.5% of all violations.
During Operation Safe Driver Week, law enforcement agencies throughout the United States and Canada increased roadway traffic safety enforcement and education to address dangerous driving behaviors by CMV drivers and passenger vehicle drivers. The Operation Safe Driver Program aims to combat the number of deaths and injuries resulting from crashes involving large trucks, buses and passenger vehicles through educational and enforcement strategies in an effort to improve the driving behaviors of all drivers operating in an unsafe manner, either in or around commercial motor vehicles.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute, 3,852 people died in large truck crashes in 2015. Sixteen percent of those deaths were truck occupants and 69% were occupants of passenger vehicles. The data shows that many of those crashes were the direct result of driver behavior. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration "Large Truck Crash Causation Study" cites driver behavior as the critical reason for more than 88% of large truck crashes and 93% of passenger vehicle crashes.
"Countless lives are tragically lost on our roadways due to unsafe, risky, inattentive or careless acts by drivers," said Collin Mooney, CVSA executive director. "In fact, driver behavior is often the most important factor in crashes. Operation Safe Driver Week raises awareness about safe driver operations in and around trucks and buses."
Some other interesting stats collected from the CVSA revolved around the difference between common passenger vehicle violations and commercial driver violations. Speeding was far and away the most common passenger vehicle violation, making up 43.5% of warnings and citations. Interestingly using a cell phone didn’t crack the top five most common violations for passenger vehicles, but the percentages were similar to commercial drivers at 0.5% and 0.8% respectively.
Driver fatigue is a commonly cited worry among professional drivers, yet only 18 CMV drivrs were given a citation for operating a vehicle while ill or fatigued. The number of drivers that received warnings was a little higher at 86 total.