GREENBELT, Md. —During this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week, July 12-18, law-enforcement personnel observed a total of 66,421 drivers engaging in unsafe driver behaviors on roadways and issued 71,343 warnings and citations, according to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA). These totals include both commercial motor vehicle drivers and drivers of passenger vehicles.
CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver Week, a driver-focused safety initiative aimed at curbing dangerous driver behaviors through interactions with law enforcement, was the alliance’s first enforcement initiative of the year, as a result of the postponement or cancellation of other enforcement campaigns because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the pandemic, 3,681 enforcement officers from 55 Canadian and U.S. jurisdictions interacted with 29,921 commercial motor vehicle drivers and 36,500 passenger vehicle drivers during the week. There was a difference of fewer than 700 contacts made between law enforcement and commercial motor vehicle drivers compared to last year — 29,921 contacts in July 2020 versus 30,619 in July 2019. However, there was a larger discrepancy between 2020 and 2019 for interactions between law enforcement and passenger vehicle drivers. Last year, 70,321 contacts were made with drivers of passenger vehicles, compared to 36,500 in 2020. That’s about a 50% drop.
In addition to traffic stops, 2,605 motorists were assisted by law enforcement during the week. Motorist assistance from officers included services such as help fixing a flat tire, providing gasoline for a stranded vehicle, checking on someone who may be pulled over, assisting individuals in distress or experiencing a medical emergency, jump-starting a vehicle, traffic control and more.
“Although CVSA is a commercial motor vehicle safety organization, it was important that passenger vehicle drivers were also involved in this annual week-long driver safety enforcement initiative,” said CVSA President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police. “When commercial motor vehicles and passenger vehicles collide, no matter who was at fault, the results can be catastrophic, especially for the smaller and lighter passenger vehicle. Preventing crashes from happening requires every driver — commercial and personal — to be aware of how to safely share the road with other types of vehicles.”
During Operation Safe Driver Week 2020, commercial motor vehicle drivers were issued a total of 10,736 citations and warnings — 4,659 citations and 6,077 warnings. Drivers of passenger vehicles received a total of 32,121 warnings and citations —17,329 citations and 14,792 warnings. Altogether, passenger vehicle drivers and commercial motor vehicle drivers received a total of 21,988 traffic-enforcement citations and 20,869 warnings during 2020 Operation Safe Driver Week, a total of 42,857.
Speeding, which was the focus of this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week, was the top traffic enforcement violation for both types of drivers. Commercial motor vehicle drivers were issued 2,339 speed-related citations and 3,423 warnings, while drivers of passenger vehicles received 14,378 citations and 11,456 warnings for speed-related offenses
Enforcement officials interacted with 29,921 commercial motor vehicle drivers during this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week. Commercial motor drivers received a total of 10,736 traffic-enforcement warnings and citations. Broken out, that’s 6,077 warnings and 4,659 citations.
The top five traffic enforcement citations given to commercial motor vehicle drivers were:
- Speeding/violation of basic speed law/driving too fast for the conditions: 2,339;
- Failure to use seat belt while operating a commercial motor vehicle: 1,003;
- Failure to obey traffic-control device: 617;
- Using a hand-held phone/texting: 269; and
- Improper lane change: 122.
Enforcement officials interacted with 36,500 passenger vehicle drivers during the week. Passenger vehicle drivers were given 14,792 traffic enforcement warnings and issued 17,329 citations, for a total of 32,121 warnings and citations.
For passenger vehicles, the top five traffic enforcement citations issued to drivers were:
- Speeding/violation of basic speed law/driving too fast for the conditions: 14,378;
- Failure to use a seat belt: 932;
- Possession/use/under influence of alcohol and/or drugs: 452;
- Failure to obey traffic-control device: 399; and
- Improper lane change: 273.
Passenger vehicle drivers received nearly three times as many warnings and citations (32,121) as commercial motor vehicle drivers (10,736 warnings and citations).
Speed-related offenses were the top traffic enforcement violation for both types of drivers; however, passenger vehicle drivers received 14,378 citations versus 2,339 citations to commercial motor vehicle drivers. Passenger vehicle drivers were cited for speeding more than six times as much as commercial motor vehicle drivers.
To review the results of previous Operation Safe Driver Weeks, click here.