Commercial motor vehicle (CMV) enforcement personnel patrolled roadways during Operation Safe Driver Week, July 15-21, 2018, to identify CMV drivers and passenger vehicle drivers engaged in unsafe driving behaviors. Officers issued 57,405 citations and 87,907 warnings to drivers throughout the week. This safe driving enforcement and awareness campaign aims to call attention to driver behaviors, the main cause of crashes, and combat those behaviors through heightened traffic safety enforcement and educational outreach.
During Operation Safe Driver Week, a safety initiative of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), 5,100 law enforcement officers made contact with 113,331 CMV drivers and passenger vehicle drivers and issued 57,405 citations. A total of 42,144 CMV contacts were made with 10,709 citations issued and 71,187 passenger vehicle contacts were made with 46,696 citations issued.
In addition to the citations that were issued to drivers throughout Operation Safe Driver Week, officers also issued a total of 87,907 warnings. CMV drivers were given 29,908 warnings; 57,999 warnings were given to passenger vehicle drivers.
The top five citations issued to CMV drivers were:
- State/Local Laws – 6,008 citations
- Speeding – 1,908 citations
- Failing to use a seat belt while operating a CMV – 1,169 citations
- Failure to obey a traffic control device – 754 citations
- Using a handheld phone – 262 citations
The top five citations issued to passenger vehicle drivers were:
- State/Local Laws – 21,511 citations
- Speeding – 16,909 citations
- Failing to use a seat belt – 3,103 citations
- Inattentive and/or careless driving – 1,655 citations
- Failure to obey a traffic control device – 739 citations
Speeding was the second most cited infraction for both CMV drivers and passenger vehicle drivers. A total of 16,909 passenger vehicle drivers were issued citations for speeding, versus 1,908 citations to CMV drivers. In addition, 17 CMV drivers and 714 passenger vehicle drivers were cited for driving too fast for the conditions.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2016, 18 percent of drivers involved in a fatal crash were speeding at the time of the crash and 27 percent of those killed were in a crash involving at least one speeding driver.
Failure to wear a seat belt was the third most cited offense for both CMV drivers and passenger vehicle drivers. Officers issued 3,103 citations to passenger vehicle drivers and 1,169 to CMV drivers for failure to wear a seat belt. As a percentage of the total number of citations, failure to wear a seat belt represented 10.9 percent of Operation Safe Driver Week CMV driver citations and 6.6 percent of the total percentage of passenger vehicle driver citations.
NHTSA research found that of the total number of people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2016, 48 percent were not wearing a seat belt. Seat belts could have saved an estimated 2,456 people if they had been wearing one. For professional drivers specifically, safety belt usage by commercial truck and bus drivers was at 86 percent in 2016, according to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) survey data.
When it comes to distracted driving, 211 passenger vehicle driver citations during Operation Safe Driver Week were for texting; 20 texting citations were issued to CMV drivers. 127 passenger vehicle drivers and 262 CMV drivers were cited for using a handheld phone.
According to NHTSA, in 2016, 3,450 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. NHTSA also estimated that of the total number of roadway deaths, crashes and injuries, 660,000 drivers were using an electronic device while behind the wheel. Of the total number of fatal crashes, 10 percent involved the use of a phone. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each day in the United States, approximately nine people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes reported to involve a distracted driver.
Operation Safe Driver Week results also of note:
- A total of 1,822 drivers (1,699 passenger vehicle drivers and 123 CMV drivers) were cited for reckless, inattentive and/or careless driving.
- 366 drivers were cited for possession/use/under the influence of alcohol or drugs or both. 42 of the citations were issued to CMV drivers; 324 were issued to passenger vehicle drivers.
- Specific to CMV drivers, 17 were cited for operating their vehicle while ill or fatigued, and 14 received citations for using/equipping their CMV with a radar detector.
Public awareness and educational campaigns are also a major aspect of this initiative. CVSA offers resources on its website for CMV drivers, teen and novice drivers, driver’s education instructors and driver trainers. During Operation Safe Driver Week, 177 safety programs were downloaded and delivered to teens and CMV drivers. The safety programs target unsafe driving behaviors and aim to prevent crashes through effective education.
- The Teens and Trucks youth safe-driving campaign had 27 downloads.
- Defeat Distracted Driving, a commercial driver safety campaign, had 78 downloads.
- Improving Driver Behaviors resources for driver trainers had 72 downloads.
In addition to enforcement and education, 8,533 motorists were assisted during Operation Safe Driver Week, highlighting the dedication to service and safety by law enforcement.
As in prior years, FMCSA participated in 2018 Operation Safe Driver Week by directing federal safety investigators to focus on carriers with recent crash involvement and high percentiles in the driver-based Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC). Although investigative and enforcement data continue to be collected and analyzed, as of the date of this release, FMCSA completed 108 compliance investigations and cited more than 100 acute and critical violations.
“During Operation Safe Driver Week, law enforcement officers throughout the United States and Canada aimed to reduce the number of crashes on our roadways through an effective mix of education and enforcement of highway safety,” said CVSA President Capt. Christopher Turner with the Kansas Highway Patrol. “By improving the driving behaviors of all drivers operating in an unsafe manner, either in or around commercial motor vehicles, we are working our way toward the goal of zero roadway deaths.”