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.
FMCSA 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.
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.
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.