GREENBELT, Md. — Law enforcement officials who pulled over nearly 35,000 commercial and passenger vehicle drivers during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Operation Safe Driver (OSD) 2012 campaign last October found that passenger car drivers continue to speed at alarming rates around commercial vehicles.
The CVSA said non-commercial vehicle drivers were issued speeding warnings and citations at more than twice the rate of commercial vehicle drivers.
Data collected during this year’s OSD weeklong event shows the top three reasons warnings and citations were issued to both commercial and non-commercial vehicle drivers were comparable to last year; however, there was a slight shift in the order of the violations.
This year’s totals continue to indicate that the No. 1 violation for 2012 is speeding, No. 2 was failure to use a safety belt and No. 3 was failure to obey a traffic control device while operating the vehicle.
In 2011, failure to obey a traffic control device ranked second; failure to use a safety belt was third.
“It’s distressing that the number of passenger car drivers who break the law and put their lives and the lives of others in jeopardy while driving around commercial motor vehicles is still so high. The majority of fatal crashes that involve large trucks and passenger cars are precipitated by the car driver,” said Stephen A. Keppler, CVSA’s executive director.
“One of our goals for Operation Safe Driver is to bring awareness to passenger car drivers that they needlessly put themselves and others in danger by failing to recognize that commercial vehicles and cars differ in their handling characteristics.”
Citations and warnings were issued by 2,918 enforcement personnel at 1,245 locations across the U.S. and Canada Oct. 14-20.
CVSA officials said 29.9 percent of the total 18,355 warnings and citations issued for all violations in 2012 were for speeding.
Of the total of 5,494 warnings and citations for speeding for all vehicles, 37.6 percent were issued to commercial vehicles, 62.4 percent were issued to non-CMVs.
Commercial vehicle drivers were issued 2,065 warnings and citations for speeding, or 17.6 percent of the total 11,741 violations recorded for commercial vehicles.
The speeding warnings and citations for non-CMVs accounted for 51.8 percent of the total 6,614 warnings and citations issued to non-CMVs.
In 2011, speeding warnings and citations accounted for 74.7 percent of the total 5,796 violations for non-CMVs compared with 14.8 percent of the total 11,427 violations for commercial vehicles.
Speeding warnings and citations accounted for 34.9 percent of all violations cited in 2011.
Warnings for failure to use a safety belt in 2012 represented 3.6 percent of the total number of warnings commercial drivers and 1.9 percent of passenger car drivers. The violation was cited as the reason for 9.9 percent of citations issued to CMV drivers and 8.3 percent issued to passenger car drivers.
These figures represent an increase in the number of recorded citations for both CMV and passenger car drivers over the previous year. The violation increases for safety belt use in CMV drivers are alarming, particularly since the last several years has seen a steady rise in the number of CMV drivers “buckling up,” Keppler said.
Of the failure to obey traffic control devices warnings issued, 3.6 percent were to CMV drivers and 1.9 percent to passenger car drivers. This translates to increases of 4 percent for CMVs and 1.5 percent for car drivers, which is relatively unchanged from the 2011 data.
In an area unique to commercial vehicles, size and weight warnings and violations accounted for 19.5 percent of all violations in 2012, compared with 26.3 percent in 2011.
Brian Neal, chairman of the Operation Safe Driver Program, said the data clearly indicated the urgency for greater awareness and adoption of the programs and techniques that are available to educate the public about sharing the road with large trucks. Two initiatives, such as the Operation Safe Driver “Teens and Trucks” and “Defeating Distracted Driving” programs, can be leveraged to continue the safety effort around education and awareness.
In addition, partnering with organizations such as the National Organization for Youth Safety (NOYS) will allow the Operation Safe Driver programs to reach critical driving populations as they develop their driving skills and habits.
Data was collected during the sixth annual Operation Safe Driver campaign held Oct. 14-20, 2012.
Operation Safe Driver was launched in 2007 by CVSA, in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, to address the problem of improving the behavior of all drivers operating in and unsafe manner—either by, or around, commercial vehicles—and to initiate educational and enforcement strategies to address those exhibiting high risk behaviors.
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