Operation Safe Driver Mobilization Week Set for October 20-26; Takes Aim at Distracted Driving and Driving Safely Around Trucks and Buses

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Nearly 4,000 people are killed and 100,000 others are injured in large truck and bus crashes each year on the highways. During the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's Operation Safe Driver Week, October 20-26, law enforcement agencies across North America will engage in stepped up traffic safety enforcement aimed at unsafe driving behaviors, particularly distracted driving by both commercial motor vehicle and passenger vehicle drivers.

Operation Safe Driver Week runs October -20-26, 2013

This aggressive, coordinated and far-reaching enforcement effort...does reduce unsafe and distracted driving behaviors, and that translates to fewer accidents and fatalities.

Nearly 4,000 people are killed and 100,000 others are injured in large truck and bus crashes each year on the highways. Many are the direct consequence of aggressive and unsafe driving by truck and bus drivers, as well as the passenger car drivers operating unsafely around them. This fatality figure equates to more deaths than a 737 airplane crashing every two weeks for a year.

During the week of October 20-26, 2013, law enforcement agencies across North America will engage in stepped up traffic safety enforcement aimed at unsafe driving behaviors, particularly distracted driving by both commercial motor vehicle and passenger vehicle drivers as part of “Operation Safe Driver,” a program sponsored by CVSA, in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and support from a number of other organizations, including FedEx Corporation. Last year during this week-long mobilization effort, law enforcement officials engaged with more than 40,000 commercial and passenger vehicle drivers at 1,245 locations across the United States and Canada. This year’s enforcement blitz will be comparable.

Although distracted driving occurs with drivers of all ages, there is strong evidence that teens and younger drivers put themselves and others at risk in greater numbers. A CDC survey last year revealed that 58% of high school seniors and 43% of high school juniors said they had texted or emailed while driving during the previous month. In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that, for drivers 15-19 years old involved in fatal crashes, 21% of the distracted drivers were distracted by the use of cell phones. Of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes, 11% were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.

CVSA President Thomas Fuller, a sergeant with the New York State Police, said, “We know most of these tragedies are preventable. CVSA is committed to saving lives and Operation Safe Driver helps us do that. This aggressive, coordinated and far-reaching enforcement effort, coupled with the program’s education and awareness components for drivers of all vehicles, does reduce unsafe and distracted driving behaviors, and that translates to fewer accidents and fatalities. I am pleased to report that this program is growing and we have more outreach events planned than ever before. We commend our member jurisdictions and industry partners for their support of and participation in this important life-saving campaign; together we are making a difference.”

Campaign Kicks Off at Event in Philadelphia

A media conference and safety demonstration is scheduled for Monday, October 21, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to officially launch the North American-wide “Operation Safe Driver” mobilization week. This event is being held in close proximity to the International Association of Chiefs of Police Annual Conference and is supported by the Pennsylvania State Police. In addition, the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles is hosting an Operation Safe Driver media event, with support from Con-way Freight on October 24 at the Connecticut State Capital in Hartford.

Three Operation Safe Driver “Teens and Trucks” educational events also are taking place:

  •     October 16—Dubiski Career High School in Grand Prairie, Texas—organized by the Grand Prairie and Fort Worth Police Departments, with support from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
  •     October 24—Cookeville High School in Tennessee—organized by the Tennessee Trucking Foundation, with support from the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Tennessee Governor’s Highway Safety Office.
  •     October 26—Darlington Raceway, South Carolina—hosted by the Pee Dee Transportation Association and the South Carolina Department of Public Safety in conjunction with the Pee Dee Truck Rodeo.

“We can save lives, prevent injuries and improve public safety overall by reinforcing the dangers of distracted driving and the importance of sharing the road safely,” said Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “We are proud to partner with CVSA to help educate young drivers and kick off Operation Safe Driver.”

About Operation Safe Driver

Operation Safe Driver was launched in 2007 by CVSA, in partnership with the FMCSA, to address the problem of improving the behavior of all drivers operating in an unsafe manner—either by, or around, commercial vehicles—and to initiate educational and enforcement strategies to address those exhibiting high risk behaviors. For more information about CVSA’s education and outreach programs for drivers, including three educational programs and the “Curbing Distracted Driving” young/teen driver training DVD, which was released in May 2013, visit http://www.operationsafedriver.org.

About CVSA

CVSA is an international not-for-profit organization composed of local, state, provincial, territorial and federal motor carrier safety officials and industry representatives from the United States, Canada and Mexico. Our mission is to promote commercial motor vehicle safety and security by providing leadership to enforcement, industry and policy makers. In addition, CVSA has several hundred associate members who are committed to helping the Alliance achieve its goals, uniformity, compatibility and reciprocity of commercial vehicle inspections, and enforcement activities throughout North America by individuals dedicated to highway safety and security. http://www.cvsa.org

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Lisa Claydon
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