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'Operation Safe Driver' to target, unsafe, aggressive driving

This poster is designed to remind motorist of the cost of driving aggressively. “Operation Safe Driver” begins Oct. 14 and will target both aggressive commercial drivers and four-wheeler drivers. (Courtesy: CVSA)

The Trucker News Services

9/25/2012

PORTLAND, Maine — The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration with support from a number of other organizations, will once again sponsor “Operation Safe Driver” to target aggressive and unsafe driving by truck and bus drivers as well as the passenger car drivers operating unsafely around them.

The announcement about the 2012 program came during the CVSA’s Annual Conference and Exhibition here this week.

Each year, more than 36,000 people die on the roadways throughout North America — nearly 4,000 of whom are related to large trucks and buses, the CVSA said. Many are the direct result 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.

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A new survey released by the Centers for Disease Control earlier this year shows just how severe the problem of texting while driving really is, especially among young drivers.

In the survey, 58 percent of high school seniors said they had texted or e-mailed while driving during the previous month. About 43 percent of high school juniors acknowledged they did the same thing.

“We are calling on all drivers to make a difference, reduce unsafe and distracted driving behaviors and help us save lives across North America with this annual mobilization week,” Stephen A. Keppler, CVSA’s executive director, said. “The truth is that most of these accidents are avoidable. That’s why taking aggressive enforcement action as well as educating both passenger vehicle drivers and truck and bus drivers is a priority for CVSA; this program can and will save lives.”

FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro and National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman echoed Keppler’s concerns.

"Whether you are a truck or bus driver, a parent driving your kids to school, or a teenager who just got your driver’s license, we want you to arrive alive. Sharing the road safely is what Operation Safe Driver is all about," Ferro said.

FMCSA will be working with CVSA to step up enforcement and education to urge motorists to follow the safety rules of the road, she noted.

"It takes three things to effectively change unsafe behavior on our nation's highways: strong education, strong laws, and strong enforcement," Hersman said. "CVSA's efforts today bring into sharp focus what still needs to be done behind the wheel and on the road. Remember—no text, no call, no update is worth a human life."

In advance of next month’s launch, several items for the Operation Safe Driver campaign were previewed at a media conference on Sept. 24 by Deborah Hersman; Jack Van Steenburg, chief safety officer and assistant administrator at FMCSA; Col. Robert A. Williams, Maine State Police; David Palmer, president of CVSA; Brian Neal, Operation Safe Driver program chair, FedEx Ground; and Scott Mugno, vice president safety and maintenance, FedEx Ground.

For more on CVSA, visit www.cvsa.org. 

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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