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September 2, 2020 4:00 PM, EDT

CVSA Safety Enforcement Operation Catches More Than 66,000 Drivers

speeding truck and car RistoArnaudov/Getty Images

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Law enforcement officers and inspectors nabbed more than 66,000 drivers engaging in unsafe behavior on U.S. and Canadian roadways, issuing more than 71,000 warnings and citations as part of Operation Safe Driver Week, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance announced Sept. 2.

The stepped-up enforcement event, which took place July 12-18, was CVSA’s first special initiative of the year after postponements and cancellations of other enforcement campaigns due to COVID-19.

“However, despite the challenges associated with 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 this year’s special enforcement event,” CVSA said in a statement.

The percentage of crashes involving some type of driver-related behavior is estimated at 94%. CVSA — in partnership with the federal government, the law enforcement community and the motor carrier industry — launched Operation Safe Driver to reduce the number of deaths and injuries from dangerous driving.

Traffic enforcement violations included such behavior as speeding, distracted driving, following too closely, improper lane change and failure to wear a seat belt. State and local driver violations included vehicle-related observations an officer may notice during a traffic stop, such as mirror equipment violations, expired license plate tags and inoperative lamps.

Combined, passenger vehicle drivers and commercial motor vehicle drivers received 21,988 traffic enforcement citations and 20,869 warnings.

Speeding, which was the focus of the enforcement effort, was the top traffic violation for both types of drivers. Passenger vehicle drivers received 14,378 citations and 11,456 warnings for speed-related offenses. Commercial motor vehicle drivers were issued 2,339 speed-related citations and 3,423 warnings.

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 commercial motor vehicle (1,003).
  • Failure to obey traffic control device (617).
  • Using a hand-held phone/texting (269).
  • Improper lane change (122).

Passenger vehicle drivers received nearly three times as many warnings and citations as commercial motor vehicle drivers and were cited for speeding more than six times as much as commercial motor vehicle drivers, CVSA said.

During last year’s event officers issued more than 17,000 speeding citations to drivers of cars and trucks traveling on highways in the United States and Canada. Nearly 92% (16,102 citations) were issued to passenger-vehicle drivers.

CVSA said that as this year’s operation occurred during a pandemic, 698 fewer contacts were made between law enforcement and commercial motor vehicle drivers compared with last year — 29,921 contacts in July 2020 versus 30,619 in July 2019.

“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,” said CVSA President John Samis, also a sergeant with the Delaware State Police. “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.”

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