Law enforcement officers across the United States, Canada, and Mexico will be keeping an eye out for dangerous drivers.
The summer travel season has arrived, and experts are forecasting high traffic volumes. With so many vehicles on the road, safety needs to be top of mind. That’s why the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is gearing up for Operation Safe Driver Week 2022. From July 10th-16th, law enforcement officers across the United States, Canada, and Mexico will team up to watch for both passenger and commercial drivers engaging in dangerous driving behaviors. Like last year, the focus of the campaign for 2022 will be on speeding.
Avoid the Need for Speed
It’s no secret that speed kills. For the past 10+ years, speed has been a factor in over a quarter of fatal crashes according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Despite the world being in a global pandemic in 2020, over 38,000 people lost their lives in traffic crashes across the United States. What’s even more shocking is that this was the highest number of fatalities since 2007. It’s no wonder that the CVSA has chosen to make speed the focus of this year’s campaign once again. During Operation Safe Driver Week in 2021, speeding took home the number one ranking on the CVSA’s list of reasons drivers were cited or given a warning. As truck drivers, it’s important that you always keep an eye on your speed, especially when driving in heavy traffic and around curves.
Watch for Other Dangerous Drivers
Dangerous drivers are out and about this summer. In fact, AAA has designated the time period between Memorial Day and Labor Day as the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer” for teen drivers, whose inexperience on the road can result in dangerous driving behaviors that have deadly consequences. In 2018, for example, 8% of all drivers involved in fatal crashes were between the ages of 15 and 20. However, only 5.3% of licensed drivers in the US fell in that age group.
Teens are not the only drivers, however, who make reckless driving decisions. Please keep an eye out for drivers who are speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating other drivers, and not using turn signals.
What You Can Do
There are steps you, as a truck driver, can take to ensure that you are a safe driver. Here are some of the top ones from the CVSA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
- Limit Distractions – Due to the vast amount of distractions drivers face, the CVSA has categorized them into three different categories.
- Visual Distractions – This includes looking at billboards, talking or texting using a handheld device, looking at a crash that occurred on the other side of the interstate, etc.
- Manual Distractions – These distractions are defined as ones that force a driver to remove one or both hands from the wheel. Examples include eating, messing with the radio or GPS, drinking, and grooming.
- Cognitive Distractions – These are distractions of the mind. Anxiety, daydreaming, and fatigue fall into this category.
- Buckle Up – You’ve probably heard the phrase “click it or ticket,” at some point. The CVSA said that in 2021, failure to buckle was the second most common violation for commercial drivers during Operation Safe Driver Week.
- Keep a Safe Distance & Avoid Unnecessary Lane Changes – It is recommended that trucks always allow for a 4-second following distance. This time should be doubled when driving in inclement weather. If you need to change lanes, make sure to check your “No Zones” to ensure that there are no vehicles in your blind spots. Look for any drivers who may be tailgating your truck, and make sure to use a turn signal as well.
- Get Some Rest – Rest is essential for all drivers and especially for truck drivers. Fatigued driving is dangerous driving. Take breaks and listen to your body. Many single-vehicle rollovers are caused by drivers asleep at the wheel. If you are driving at night, pay special attention to any drivers around you who may be dozing off.
At LYNC, we are big promoters of safe driving. Our goal is to get both the driver and the shipper’s product to the intended destination safely. With gas prices on the rise, it is possible that some travel plans may change. However, you can expect that there will still be many drivers on the roads this summer. Carriers please plan ahead and make sure that your drivers are ready for Operation Safe Driver Week. Together, we can make the roads a safer place for everyon