What is Operation Safe Driver? (2021 Update)

What is Operation Safe Driver and its Purpose?

The CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver program was created in 2007 to help reduce the number of crashes, deaths, and injuries involving large trucks, buses, and passenger vehicles due to unsafe driving behaviors.  This program is sponsored by the CVSA, in partnership with FMCSA and with support from industry and transportation safety organizations.  The initiative aims to help improve the behavior of all drivers operating in an unsafe manner, either in or around commercial motor vehicles, through educational and traffic enforcement strategies to address individuals exhibiting high-risk driving behaviors.

What are the 2021 Dates and Emphasis of the Operation Safe Driver Week?

The dates for the Operation Safe Driver Week for 2021 are July 11-17.  This year’s Safe Driver Week will focus on speeding, with a secondary concentration on unsafe-driving behaviors.  According to the National Safety Council’s (NSC) preliminary estimates, the rate of death on roads last year increased 24% over the previous 12-month period, despite miles driven dropping 13%. The increase in the rate of death is the highest estimated year-over-year jump NSC has calculated in 96 years.

“With fewer motorists on the road and an increased demand on trucking due to the pandemic, these two factors likely dramatically impacted the increase in road deaths,” said Fred Fakkema, Vice President of Safety and Compliance at Zonar Systems. “Despite the downtick in drivers, there have been more speeding incidents. When vehicles are traveling faster, the accidents they are in are likely going to be more severe. Drivers are also under more pressure for on-time deliveries with the increased demand on freight and the numerous issues with the supply chain.”

“Speed will decrease as road congestion returns to ‘normal’ and increases, however, drivers will have to continually be reminded that safety is a culture and is imperative, regardless of the amount of traffic,” explained Fakkema. “Also, more safety technologies are being added to both commercial and passenger vehicles, and with the current administration, there is a likelihood that some of them, such as speed limiters, could be mandated soon.”

In addition to the emphasis on speeding, other dangerous driver behaviors will be tracked such as:

  • Distracted Driving
  • Texting
  • 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

What Were the Results from the 2020 Operation Safe Driver Week?

Officers issued 71,343 warnings and citations to drivers for traffic enforcement violations, ranging from speeding to failure to wear a seatbelt.  Speeding was the top traffic enforcement violation for both commercial motor vehicle and passenger vehicle drivers.  CMV drivers were issued 2,339 speed-related citations and 3,423 warnings.  Passenger vehicle drivers received 14,378 citations and 11,456 warnings for speed-related offenses. 

For the full results from the 2020 Operation Safe Driver Week click on the following link – https://www.cvsa.org/news/2020-osd-week-results/

Is Operation Safe Driver 2021 Strictly About Traffic Enforcement?

During last year’s event traffic enforcement wasn’t the only thing on the agenda, 2,605 motorists were assisted during Operation Safe Driver Week. This highlights law enforcement’s commitment to public service and roadway safety. Motorist assistance from officers may include 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, etc. Safety professionals are more than just for enforcing the rule of law on our nation’s roads.

What are Some Suggestions to Prepare for Operation Safe Driver?

In order to prepare for Operation Safe Driver Week, and to reduce your drivers’ overall risk of being the target of law 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. 

As you prepare for Operation Safe Driver Week, be sure to discuss the following considerations with management / staff:

  • Correcting risky behaviors now to avoid being targets for law enforcement, but also reduce the risk of severe crashes and large claims. 
  • Safety meetings with topics focused on driver behaviors falling under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration BASICs categories.
  • Extra rewards/incentives for drivers who receive a clean inspection during this timeframe.
  • Daily reminders from management, dispatchers, and peer leaders referencing unsafe driving issues.
  • Paperwork audits for all permits, insurance, etc., required in the trucks.

In an effort to stay ahead of the added law 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 and repair defects.  Again, the primary focus will be on unsafe driving, but any other defects discovered during the inspection may be listed on the inspection along with the reason for being stopped.  It is crucial that proper pre-trip and post-trip inspections are completed daily.

What are Some Good Tips to Remember During the 2021 Operation Safe Driver Week?

5 Quick Tips:

  • No Phones While Driving
  • Leave Room and Move Over
  • Stop the Tailgating
  • Don’t Forget the Signal
  • Get Organized with All of Your Paperwork (License, Registration, Logbook, etc…)    

Being aware of the most common violations (brakes, lights, tires, cargo load securement) can help truck drivers focus on crucial features and help them stay on the road. Regardless of why a driver is initially put in a roadside inspection, they should go through and understand each level of inspection and make sure all items within each level are ready for a close examination. 

Check out the different levels of inspections in more detail.

More information on Operation Safe Driver can be Found on the CVSA website

https://www.cvsa.org/

Sources:

CVSA Website – https://cvsa.org/

“What Motor Carriers Can do to Prepare for Operation Safe Driver Week”, Great West Casualty Company.

“Operation Safe Driver Week 2021to Focus on Speeding”, FleetOwner, Catharine Conway, April 7, 2021.                     

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