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Operation Safe Driver making our roads safer for everyone

Operation Safe Driver making our roads safer for everyone

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is adding to our road safety message this week (see the October 24 post on Teen Driver Safety Week) with Operation Safe Driver, an all-out effort to combat the number of deaths resulting from crashes involving large trucks, buses and passenger vehicles.

Share the road safelyFMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro, Deputy Administrator Bill Bronrott, and Chief Safety Officer Jack Van Steenburg joined state and local law enforcement officers and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance  in Hartford, CT, Cookeville, TN, and  Philadelphia, PA, to mark the week around the country.

During Operation Safe Driver, our safety partners are stepping up commercial vehicle and non-commercial vehicle traffic enforcement; safety belt enforcement; and driver roadside inspections. They're also increasing commercial driver safety education efforts.

But an equally important part of this campaign is the effort to raise awareness among the public about safe operations around commercial motor vehicles.

FMCSA Administrator speaks at an Operation Safe Driver event in Hartford.
FMCSA Administrator speaks at an Operation Safe Driver event in Hartford.

As our nation's commercial drivers know, safety is a shared responsibility. So, when we talk about reducing the number of people killed in crashes involving large trucks or buses --more than 3,800 in 2011 alone-- we're not just talking about changing truck or bus driver behavior. We're talking about the driving habits of everyone.

That's why, in addition to Operation Safe Driver enforcement of safety laws and regulations for commercial drivers, we're also boosting enforcement of safety laws for passenger vehicle drivers in areas that regularly see a lot of truck traffic. That includes impaired and distracted driving, and it also includes aggressive driving characteristics like excessive speeding and unsafe, unsignaled lane changes.

And through our Teens And Trucks campaign, we're paying special attention to educating America's least experienced drivers on safe practices near large trucks and buses. Those practices include the basics that apply in all roadway situations --no texting behind the wheel, don't drink and drive, always buckle up, and stay alert.

Trailer of a truck

They also include the all-important lesson, "Avoid the NO Zone," which makes teens aware that there are four areas behind, alongside, and in front of large vehicles where a smaller vehicle is completely invisible to the driver of that truck or bus.

When teens give it some thought, they see that staying safe around big trucks and buses is a habit you can live with. Whether due to impairment, distraction, aggression, or some combination, unpredictable driving is particularly dangerous when a passenger car is in the blind spot of a larger, less maneuverable vehicle.

Through enforcement as well as education, Operation Safe Driver is an opportunity to reduce the number of lives lost to crashes that are 100 percent preventable. And we want to thank CVSA, law enforcement agencies nationwide, and everyone whose efforts this week are making our roads safer for everyone.

Whether we’re talking about a truck or bus driver, a parent driving kids to school, or a teenager who just got her driver’s license, we want everyone to know the rules of safe driving.

Todd Solomon works on digital communications in the DOT Office of Public Affairs.

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Of course, no texting behind the wheel applies to truck drivers & bus drivers as well. Violations aplenty despite DOT reg.

I think this program will be really beneficial to people, especially young drivers. Most teens who have just started driving may not realize how large a truck or bus driver's blind spot is, and may speed or drive aggressively to get around them. These actions are not safe for the truck/bus driver or the teen drivers. The best way to combat unsafe driving behavior is education. As a student who has been through a state police driving course where they taught us about the dangers of driving unsafely around large trucks, I am more careful around them compared to before I took the driving course. If new drivers had to attend a course on safe driving near trucks or commercial vehicles, or if this kind of safety information was added into their mandatory driving class, teens could be a lot safer on the road. This is overall a very good way to combat the high numbers of crashes and deaths involving commercial vehicles, trucks, and busses.

very succesfull campaign. I hope it continues successfully.
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