Omnitracs' Road Ahead blog

Operation Safe Driver Week is next week — 3 reasons why speeding will be the key focus this year

Michael Ahart
Michael Ahart
Vice President of Regulatory Affairs

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) will be leading Operation Safe Driver Week from July 12-18. The CVSA is a nonprofit association that focuses on commercial safety in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. The organization is dedicated to enhancing commercial vehicle safety across North America by guiding public safety, industry, and policy experts.  

This year’s focus will be on speeding. The COVID-19 pandemic significantly reduced the number of vehicles on the road in April, and average vehicle speeds drastically rose in the metropolitan areas of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington D.C., and Detroit as a result.

During this week-long traffic enforcement and safety initiative, public safety officers across North America will be paying additional attention to drivers engaging in unsafe driving behaviors by issuing those drivers with warnings or citations as needed. While officers will primarily focus on speeding, they will also be on the lookout for other hazardous driving behaviors, including reckless or aggressive driving and drunk or drugged driving.

To commemorate the upcoming week’s importance, I’d like to focus on why we must emphasize the perils of speeding in our industry.

#1: Crashes related to speed are the most dangerous for commercial motor vehicles

In California, certain commercial vehicles can only drive up to 55 miles per hour on highways, while many fleets in other states have electronically limited the speed of the vehicles in their fleet to 65 mph. This number signifies how imperative it is for commercial vehicles to operate at speeds suited to their size and weight. It also serves to remind other drivers on the road to practice extra caution around these trucks.

Crashes related to speeding can substantially threaten any driver’s life. Speeding, coupled with the high impact of crashing into a commercial vehicle, significantly increases the risk of critical injuries and fatalities.  

#2: Fatal crashes involving large trucks are increasing 

In late 2019, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported that motor vehicle fatalities decreased in all population segments, except for deaths in crashes involving large trucks, pedestrians, and pedal cyclists. Speeding was a factor in approximately 19 percent of crashes related to large trucks.

This signifies that, while safety initiatives aimed at general roadside safety seem to be working, our approach to safe travel for trucks requires additional action and awareness. With those, we can hopefully achieve a decrease in fatalities in the future.

#3: Truckers who speed don’t help other truckers

From regulatory requirements to customer concerns, truck drivers have a lot to navigate through in their day to day. While many truck drivers practice extreme caution on the road, some might fall into the lure of speeding due to their delivery schedules or the allure of the open road.

What’s more, a trucker who participates in speeding-related driving behaviors, such as driving too close to another truck to place pressure on a driver to move faster, can induce anxiety in the other driver — making the road a more dangerous place for everyone.

I look forward to exploring Operation Safe Driver Week with you next week. I will be covering pertinent, safety-related topics right here on the Omnitracs Road Ahead Blog. Stay tuned!