From July 12-18, 2020, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is conducting its Operation Safe Driver campaign throughout the United States and Canada. Motor carriers of all sizes must prepare for this event by educating themselves about what Operation Safe Driver Week means for their trucking operation.
The enforcement focus for the 2020 Operation Safe Driver initiative is to detect and enforce violations categorized in the Unsafe Driving Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASIC). A few examples of violations inspectors look for include distracted driving, failure to use a seatbelt, following too closely, improper lane change, reckless or aggressive driving, failure to obey traffic control devices, evidence of drunk or drugged driving, etc.
This year’s primary focus is speeding, which is a common violation and considered “preventable,” similar to other violations in the Unsafe Driving category. Drivers who may be accustomed to traveling at 5 mph over the speed limit may not be so fortunate during this enforcement period.
As the United States and Canada begin to reopen after the COVID-19 pandemic, traffic is starting to return to its pre-pandemic volume. During the pandemic, the highways were less congested with travelers and commuters, which in turn made commercial operations timelier and more efficient.
However, this also enticed commercial motor vehicle operators to push the thresholds of posted speed limits. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, “less traffic may be encouraging some drivers to ignore traffic safety laws, including speed limits. Despite there being far fewer vehicles on the road due to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, many jurisdictions are seeing a severe spike in speeding.”
In order to prepare for Operation Safe Driver Week, and to reduce your drivers’ overall risk of being the target of enforcement, now is a great time to start monitoring driver behaviors. There are many ways to achieve positive results, such as using ELD reporting, management road observations, and even check rides with drivers.
Correcting risky behaviors now will not only keep them from being targets for enforcement, but also ultimately reduce the risk of severe crashes and large claims. As you prepare for Operation Safe Driver Week, be sure to discuss the following considerations with management and staff.
Enforcement during this time will be aggressive in an attempt to detect negative behaviors. Some states will have troopers covertly riding with drivers in the cab of a truck to call out violations to officers down the road as they happen. Aircraft may be utilized to check ground speeds, and technologies such as radar will be used as they have been for several decades.
Again, the primary focus will be on unsafe driving, but any other defects discovered during the inspection may be listed on the inspections along with the reason for being stopped. With this in mind, it is crucial that proper pre-trip and post-trip inspections are completed daily.
In an effort to stay ahead of the added enforcement during Operation Safe Driver Week, educate yourselves, your operations, those responsible for maintenance, and of course, your drivers. Identify and address unsafe behaviors now, repair defects, and be prepared.
Hopefully, a driver won’t inadvertently “volunteer” for a roadside inspection by committing an unsafe driving violation. But if a driver does, your company will be more prepared for the inspection.
Learn more about this year's CVSA Operation Safe Driver Week by clicking here.