Operation Safe Driver Week began yesterday, which means there will be more law enforcement officers on the roadways patrolling for speeding vehicles and reckless driving. Less traffic should mean safer roadways, but that hasn’t been the case in many jurisdictions. Studies have shown that fewer vehicles on the road may be encouraging some drivers to ignore traffic safety laws. Some behaviors police officers will be watching out for this week are speeding, seatbelt usage, reckless driving, drunk driving, texting and driving, tailgating v and more.
Citations and warnings will be issued to commercial and passenger drivers throughout North America who are engaging in any of the above behaviors. Fred Fakkema, vice president of safety and compliance at Zonar, says “It’s all the simple stuff that enforcement looks for. It’s the turn signal not working. It’s the headlight network versus amber lights not working. No mud flaps, no seatbelt.” He went on to express the importance of using cruise control to not only save fuel, but to help keep the drivers inside the speed limit.
According to FleetOwner, as the number of vehicles on the roadway decreased in March and April, average speeds measured during the first week of April increased significantly in the five largest U.S. metropolitan areas. New York City, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, and Tucson are only a few on the list of places where traffic incidents and dangerous driving behaviors have spiked since the beginning of the pandemic. As reported by Fakkema, “In 2020 through June, there have been over 139,000 moving violations, most of them are for speeding, following too close and improper lane change.” Cell phone usage while driving was also on the list of violations. Over 9,000 have been cited so far this year with nearly 500 of them for texting, Fakkema says.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) did however report there has been a decline by 2.4% in overall fatalities, but the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks increased by 0.9%.
Operation Safe Driver Week will last from July 12th-18th and will be monitored by law enforcement officers throughout North America. Please be mindful while traveling.