The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s annual Operation Safe Driver Week has commenced as of July 16th, 2018 and will persist throughout the week. During this week law enforcement will be monitoring for commercial motor vehicles practicing unsafe driving behaviors. The types of practices that qualify as unsafe driving behavior that law enforcement will be looking out for throughout Safe Driver Week are acts such as; speeding, failure to use a seat belt, distracted driving, failure to obey traffic control devices, improper lane changes, and more. The purpose of this operation is to try to promote attention to the primary causes of crashes. The operation’s goal is to combat these unsafe practices through stricter enforcement of these rules on the road.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released a report in May of this year regarding Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts. The report stated that at least one driver-related factor was responsible for 32 percent of commercial motor vehicle drivers in fatal crashes, with speeding identified as the most prominent cause for accidents. Distraction or inattention was the second most common driver-related cause of accidents. With fatigue, illness, or alcohol being the reason for distraction or inattention. In recent times the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has aimed to reduce inattention and distraction by enforcing new hours of service regulations using the electronic logging device mandate. Authorities are not only checking for safe commercial drivers however; they are also interested in enforcing safe driving measures on passenger vehicle drivers. The FMCSA reported that 73% of fatal crashes involving a truck was due to a pre-crash event caused by another vehicle. This enforcement on passenger motor vehicles as well will prevent these types of motorists from operating unsafely around such commercial vehicles.
Despite the benefits to motor safety that safe driver week advocates for, Safe Driver Week does have an impact on flatbed transportation companies. Capacity is a concern during this week due to the more stringent rules applied to drivers this week than normally. As a result, rates are affected, and shippers may have a more difficult time moving their freight. Flatbed heavy haul companies also experience difficulties as they generally must take extra precaution in general, but particularly during safe driver week, which could slow down transit and decrease capacity throughout the week. Flatbed shipping companies can find some peace of mind knowing their drivers are likely going to be safer this week in transit due to the increased focus on enforcing safety. Despite the initiatives, once this week is over things on the road will generally go back to the way they normally are. Safe Driver Week should not be an annual occurrence, driver safety for passenger and commercial vehicles should be a focus all the time, not just once a year for a week.