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May 12, 2020 4:45 PM, EDT

CVSA’s 2020 Operation Safe Driver Week to Go On as Scheduled July 12-18

Operation Safe DriverEnforcement during a past Operation Safe Driver Week. (Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance)

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The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s 2020 Operation Safe Driver Week will go on as scheduled July 12-18, the trade association representing roadside inspectors announced May 12.

During the weeklong traffic enforcement safety initiative, law enforcement personnel throughout North America will be looking for drivers who are engaging in unsafe driving behaviors on the nation’s roadways, CVSA said. Drivers identified displaying unsafe driving will be pulled over by law enforcement and may be issued a warning or citation.

This year’s Safe Driver Week will focus on speeding, which CVSA said has been increasing in recent months with highway traffic significantly declined due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s essential that this enforcement initiative, which focuses on identifying and deterring unsafe driving behaviors, such as speeding, go on as scheduled,” said CVSA President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police.

John Samis

Samis

In addition to a focus on speeding, examples of other dangerous driver behaviors that law enforcement will track during the special enforcement operation include distracted driving, failure to use a seat belt, following too closely, improper lane change, reckless or aggressive driving, failure to obey traffic control devices, and evidence of drunk or drugged driving, CVSA said.

“According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, less traffic may be encouraging some drivers to ignore traffic safety laws, including speed limits,” CVSA said. “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 March and April, average speeds on interstate highways, state highways and expressways in the five largest U.S. metropolitan areas have increased by as much as 75% when compared to January and February, according to data.

According to CVSA:

  •  In New York City, transportation officials reported an increase of more than 60% in the number of speed camera tickets issued in March compared to a year ago. At the same time, traffic was down more than 90% compared to January.
  •  In Washington, D.C., traffic decreased 80% in March compared to January, while officials recorded a 20% increase in March speeding tickets. Of those tickets, violations for driving 21-25 mph over the speed limit rose by nearly 40%.
  •  Over just one weekend in Toronto, police charged 18 drivers with stunt driving, with speeds of 80-106 mph on the Don Valley Parkway, a major freeway that’s limited to 55 mph.
  •  California reported an increase in speeding violations and although the California Highway Patrol’s call volume has decreased, the crashes they have recently responded to have been worse.
  •  Tucson, Ariz., police reported a 40% increase in one-vehicle wrecks, which usually happens when a driver’s going so fast they lose control.
  •  In Minnesota, motor vehicle crashes and fatalities more than doubled compared to the same time period in previous years. Half those deaths were related to speeding or careless or negligent driving.
  •  In Colorado, Indiana, Nebraska and Utah, police have clocked highway speeds of more than 100 mph.
  •  Chicago and Los Angeles went from travel speed increases of 35-38% above average to 74-75% above average in just one week.

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