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May 8, 2019 9:30 AM, EDT

CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver Week to Focus on Speeding

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Law enforcement personnel will be on the prowl for bad behavior by commercial vehicle and passenger drivers on the nation’s roadways, including a special focus on speeding, during this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week event scheduled for July 14-20.

Actions of speeding drivers have contributed to 94% of all traffic crashes, according to 2015 statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“For more than two decades, speeding has been involved in nearly one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities,” said Jay Thompson, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance president and chief of Arkansas Highway Police. “That is unacceptable, especially because it’s preventable. We will continue to educate the public on the dangers of speeding, and we will identify individuals who are speeding on our roadways and may issue citations as a deterrent to future speeding tendencies and to affect driver behavior.”

Thompson added, “As unpopular as traffic citations are among drivers, we know that driver behavior does respond to contacts with law enforcement and warnings and citations.”

CVSA is sponsoring the special enforcement effort.

In addition to the emphasis on speeding, law enforcement personnel will be tracking other dangerous driver behaviors during the event such as distracted driving, texting, 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.

In 2017, speeding was a contributing factor in 26% of all traffic fatalities, or 9,717 lives lost due to speeding, according to NHTSA.

During last year’s Operation Safe Driver Week, 16,909 passenger vehicle drivers and 1,908 commercial motor vehicle drivers were issued citations for speeding. In addition, 17 commercial motor vehicle drivers and 714 passenger vehicle drivers were cited for driving too fast for conditions.

Also during the 2018 operation, 51,000 law enforcement officers made contact with 113,331 CMV drivers and passenger vehicle drivers and issued 57,405 citations. A total of 42,144 CMV contacts were made with 10,709 citations issued, and 71,187 passenger vehicle contacts were made with 46,696 citations issued, CVSA said.

Besides the citations, officers issued 87,907 warnings. CMV drivers were given 29,908 warnings; 57,999 warnings were given to passenger vehicle drivers.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute, speeding has been a factor in more than a quarter of crash deaths since 2008. And, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s 2016 Large Truck and Bus Facts, speeding of any kind was the most frequent driver-related crash factor for drivers of commercial motor vehicles and passenger vehicles.

For those reasons, CVSA selected speeding as the emphasis area for this year’s safe driver week, and law enforcement jurisdictions throughout North America will be endorsing, promoting and supporting the following message: “Late won’t kill you, speeding will.”

CVSA said a 2014 study, titled “Do Traffic Tickets Reduce Motor Vehicle Accidents? Evidence from a Natural Experiment,” investigated whether traffic violation enforcement reduces the number of motor vehicle crashes.

The study’s author used one of the best-known enforcement programs, “Click It or Ticket,” which focuses on mandating seat belt use and ticketing violators. CVSA said the study found that the campaign decreased motor vehicle crashes by about 11% and found that a 1% increase in citations issued led to a 0.28% decline in motor vehicle crashes. The ticketing campaign also reduced the number of nonfatal injuries from motor vehicle crashes, according to the study.