How to make sure your drivers and staff are ready
From July 10-16, 2022, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) will conduct its Operation Safe Driver campaign throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Motor carriers of all sizes must prepare for this event by educating themselves about what Operation Safe Driver Week means for their trucking operations.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Operation Safe Driver Program was created to improve the driving behaviors of all drivers and reduce the number of crashes involving commercial motor vehicles on roadways through educational and traffic enforcement strategies.
“This safe driving initiative and campaign focuses specifically on drivers’ actions – whether it’s something a driver did, like speeding, or something they didn’t do, such as not paying attention to the driving task,” said CVSA President Capt. John Broers of the South Dakota Highway Patrol. “This focus on drivers’ behaviors is our effort to identify and educate drivers who are operating dangerously on our roadways, with the goal of preventing crashes from occurring.”
What law enforcement look for
The enforcement focus for Operation Safe Driver Week initiative is to detect and enforce violations categorized in the Unsafe Driving Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASIC system). A few examples of violations inspectors look for include:
- distracted driving
- failure to use a seatbelt
- following too closely
- improper lane change
- reckless or aggressive driving
- failure to obey traffic control devices
- evidence of drunk or drugged driving
The primary focus of the 2022 initiative is speeding, which is a common violation and considered preventable, similar to other violations in the Unsafe Driving BASIC category.
Law enforcement during this time will be aggressive in their attempt to detect negative behaviors. While the primary focus of this year’s campaign will be on unsafe driving, any other defects discovered during the inspection may be listed on the inspection along with the reason for being stopped. With this in mind, it is crucial that proper pre-trip and post-trip inspections are completed daily.
A growing problem
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) released its latest annual traffic crash report showing that 38,824 lives were lost in traffic crashes nationwide in 2020 – the highest number of fatalities since 2007.
While the number of crashes and traffic injuries declined overall, fatal crashes increased by 6.8 percent. Among the statistics in NHTSA’s report was that speed-related fatalities increased by 17 percent.
Preparing for Operation Safe Driver Week
In order to prepare for Operation Safe Driver Week, and to reduce your drivers’ overall risk of being the target of law enforcement, now is a great time to monitor driver behaviors. There are many ways to achieve positive results, such as using ELD reporting, management road observations, and even check rides with drivers.
Correcting risky behaviors now will not only keep them from being targets for law enforcement, but also ultimately reduce the risk of severe crashes and large claims. As you prepare for Operation Safe Driver Week, be sure to discuss the following considerations with management and staff.
- Driver/Mechanic/Operations awareness notices posted in high-traffic areas
- Check lanes by mechanics as drivers are leaving the yard for the day
- Check rides, ride-alongs, or observations conducted by management and supervisors for identified high-risk drivers
- Safety meetings with topics focused on driver behaviors falling under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration BASICs categories
- Extra rewards/incentives for drivers who receive a clean inspection during this timeframe
- Daily reminders from management, dispatchers, and peer leaders referencing unsafe driving issues
- Paperwork audits for all permits, insurance, etc., required in the trucks
In an effort to stay ahead of the added law enforcement during Operation Safe Driver Week, educate yourselves, your operations, those responsible for maintenance, and of course, your drivers. Identify and address unsafe behaviors now, repair defects, and be prepared.
Hopefully, a driver won’t inadvertently “volunteer” for a roadside inspection by committing an unsafe driving violation. But if a driver does, your company will be more prepared for the inspection.
Learn more about this year's CVSA Operation Safe Driver Week by clicking here.
The information in this article is provided as a courtesy of Great West Casualty Company and is part of the Value-Driven® Company program. Value-Driven Company was created to help educate and inform insureds so they can make better decisions, build a culture that values safety, and manage risk more effectively. To see what additional resources Great West Casualty Company can provide for its insureds, please contact your safety representative, or click below to find an agent.
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