Scranton and Wilkes-Barre are situated astride a confluence of interstate highways that carry many commercial vehicles. I-80, I-81, I-84 and other freeways are key pathways for the wheels of commerce. But they can also be the site of terrible truck accidents.
Data from Operation Safe Driver
What can be done to reduce the number and severity of those accidents? A non-profit vehicle safety group recently conducted a campaign called “Operation Safe Driver”, which collected data on citations and warnings issued to both passenger cars and commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. The goal was to improve safety around commercial vehicles for both trucks and passenger vehicles.
Operation Safe Driver was conducted by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), a non-profit organization of local, state, territorial, provincial, and federal safety officials and industry representatives in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The initiative used both law enforcement tactics and driver education to spread the word on the dangers of violating traffic laws like speed limits and mandatory seatbelt use.
Speeding a Significant Issue
The data collected during Operation Safe Driver found that speeding is an issue that can put both the passenger car driver and the CMV driver in danger. Almost 53,000 commercial and passenger vehicles were pulled over during Operation Safe Driver; over 34,000 of the stops resulted in a warning or citation.
CMV drivers were issued 7,062 warnings and 8,724 citations, and passenger car drivers were issued 7,126 warnings and 7,700 citations. Speeding citations were 13.7 percent of CMV driver citations and 20 percent of warnings issued to CMV drivers.
Operation Safe Driver did not analyze why speed of passenger cars tends to increase around trucks. It is quite possible, however, that the well-known dangers posed by trucks have made people fearful. There are many chronic issues with commercial vehicle safety – such as trucker driver fatigue caused by excessive hours on the road – that need to be addressed.
Improving Truck Safety
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and other agencies have been attempting to address driver fatigue and other safety issues with initiatives like the Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA) program. The baseline data compiled by Operation Safe Driver should help with that work.