CVSA tees up Operation Safe Driver for next week

July 3, 2024

Land Line Staff


Hot on the heels of a holiday travel weekend, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is hitting the road with Operation Safe Driver starting next week.

The annual enforcement blitz on both personal and commercial vehicles is set to run July 7-13. CVSA announced that its member agencies will be focused on unsafe driving behaviors. Specifically, the Alliance mentioned law enforcement will be watching for speeding, distracted driving, following too closely as well as drunk or drugged driving.

Each year, however, CVSA focuses enforcement efforts on specific offenses. For July 2024, that is reckless, careless or dangerous driving.

The Alliance defined the offenses as any person who drives a vehicle in “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is driving recklessly. Careless/dangerous driving is defined as operating a vehicle without due care and attention or reasonable consideration for other motorists or people on the road.”

Fatalities trending down

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that traffic fatalities continue to trend downward through the first quarter of 2024.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 8,650 traffic fatalities in the first quarter of 2024. That represents a decrease of more than 3% compared to the first three months of 2023.

A drop in traffic fatalities occurred in two of the first three months of this year. There was a 9.4% decrease in January and a 4% decrease in February. Traffic deaths went up by nearly 4% in March.

The decline in traffic fatalities came despite an increase in vehicle miles traveled. Historically, highway traffic deaths tend to go up when motorists log more miles on the roadways. So far this year, vehicle miles traveled have increased slightly, by 0.6%. Consequently, the fatality rate – the number of fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled – dropped to 1.13 compared to 1.18 in the first quarter of last year.

Distracted driving

Results in a recent study point to a dramatic climb in distracted driving.

Cambridge Mobile Telematics released “The State of Distracted Driving in 2023 and the Future of Road Safety,” mid-Spring.

According to the report, distracted driving increased by 20% from 2020 to 2022. Two key metrics, phone motion and screen interaction, went up 21% and 23%, respectively. The worst offenders are more than 240% more likely to crash than the safest drivers.

Drivers interacted with their phones on nearly 58% of trips last year. More than a third of phone motion distractions occurred above 50 mph, the highest rate in three years. The report also suggests that more than a third of crashes happen within one minute after a driver interacts with his or her phone.

Enforcement’s role

According to NHTSA, effective, high-visibility communications and outreach are essential parts of successful transportation safety programs. However, according to CVSA, communication and outreach programs are unlikely to have an effect unless they are tied to “vigorous enforcement.”

That’s where Operation Safe Driver comes in. Enforcement efforts during the blitz will be conducted by CVSA members at the state, provincial and local levels in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. In addition to amped up, high visibility enforcement, CVSA is providing resources for teen and new drivers in addition to those available to truck drivers. Those resources are also available in French and Spanish. LL