Enforcement Personnel on the Lookout for Unsafe Commercial and Passenger-Vehicle Drivers During Operation Safe Driver Week, Oct. 15-21

Law enforcement agencies throughout North America will engage in heightened traffic safety enforcement and educational outreach as part of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Operation Safe Driver Week, Oct. 15-21, 2017. Throughout the week, enforcement personnel will identify and issue warnings and/or citations to commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers and passenger-vehicle drivers exhibiting unsafe driving behaviors on our roadways.

Unsafe driver behaviors by CMV drivers and passenger-vehicle drivers continue to be the leading cause of crashes. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) “Large Truck Crash Causation Study” cites driver behavior as the critical reason for more than 88 percent of large truck crashes and 93 percent of passenger-vehicle crashes.  

CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver Program was created to help to reduce the number of crashes, deaths and injuries involving large trucks, buses and passenger vehicles due to unsafe driving behaviors. During Operation Safe Driver Week, there will be increased CMV and passenger-vehicle traffic enforcement.

Examples of dangerous driver behaviors that enforcement personnel will be tracking throughout Operation Safe Driver Week are speeding, distracted driving, texting, failure to use a seatbelt while operating a CMV or in a passenger vehicle, traveling too closely, improper lane change, failure to obey traffic control devices, etc.

Operation Safe Driver Week is sponsored by CVSA, in partnership with FMCSA and with support from industry and transportation safety organizations, and aims to help improve the behavior of all drivers operating in an unsafe manner – either in or around a CMV – through educational and traffic enforcement strategies to address individuals exhibiting high-risk driving behaviors.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is the act of driving while engaged in other activities—such as looking after children, texting, talking on the phone or to a passenger, watching videos, eating, rubbernecking or reading.

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Pre-Trip Inspections

Must be done daily, 15 minutes spent looking over your equipment can save your life.

No texting while driving

CMV drivers are prohibited from texting while driving. So, what qualifies as texting? Texting means manually entering alphanumeric text into, or reading text from, an electronic device. This includes, but is not limited to, short message service, e-mailing, instant messaging, a command or request to access a Web page, or pressing more than a single button to initiate or terminate a voice communication using a mobile phone or engaging in any other form of electronic text retrieval or entry, for present or future communication.  

Do not type or read a text message while driving a CMV!

Use of mobile phones is restricted for CMV drivers

This rule restricts a CMV driver from reaching for or holding a mobile phone to conduct a voice communication, as well as dialing by pressing more than a single button. CMV drivers who use a mobile phone while driving can only operate a hands-free phone located in close proximity. In short, the rule prohibits unsafely reaching for a device, holding a mobile phone, or pressing multiple buttons.

How can drivers use a mobile phone and still obey the rules?

Locate the mobile phone so it is operable by the driver while restrained by properly adjusted safety belts.

Utilize an earpiece or the speaker phone function.

Use voice-activated or one-button touch features to initiate, answer, or terminate a call.

What happens if a driver is caught using a hand-held phone or texting while driving?

The rule imposes sanctions for driver offenses, including civil penalties up to $2,750 and driver disqualification for multiple offenses. Motor carriers are also prohibited from requiring or allowing their drivers to text or use a hand-held mobile phone while driving and may be subject to civil penalties up to $11,000. Violations will impact SMS results. Texting and calling on a hand-held phone carry the maximum violation severity weighting in SMS!

What are the risks?

Besides penalties and possible driver disqualification, recent research shows that the odds of being involved in a safety-critical event (e.g., crash, near-crash, unintentional lane deviation) are 23.2 times greater for CMV drivers who text while driving than for those who do not. Texting drivers took their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, this equates to a driver traveling the approximate length of a football field — without looking at the roadway!  For CMV drivers who dial a mobile phone while driving, the odds of being involved in a safety-critical event are six times greater than for those who do not. Why take chances?

Bottom Line: Using a handheld device while driving is a serious traffic violation that could result in a driver disqualification.O

No call, no text, no ticket!

A driver must be satisfied that both the power unit and the trailer are in safe operating condition before operating the combination.

Load Checks

The driver is responsible for the following cargo securement inspection activities.

Driver action required Pre-Trip Within first 50 mi, when duty status of driver changes, at 3 hour intervals or every 150 mi, whichever is first.

 

These are some of the top violations Drivers have received in the last year.  The key element of all of these violations is that they were preventable.   

Hours of Service Violations

Record of Duty Status violation  9

Drivers record of duty status not current   7

Driving beyond 8 hour limit   5

Driver failing to retain previous 7 days   4

Driver’s record of duty status not current   3

Driving beyond 14 hour duty period   2

Vehicle Violations

Inoperable Required Lamp    8

Brake chafing and/or kinking    4

Discharged/unsecured fire extinguisher  4

Brake connections with leaks      

Inoperable head lamps 3

Inoperative/defective brakes       2

Falling cargo 2

No or defective lighting          2

Power steering violations      2

Insufficient tiedowns                   

All of these would have been prevented with a proper pretrip inspection.

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