Operation Safe Driver Week is a little bit of a dream come true for truck drivers. Mind you I said a “little bit”.
During the week of October 19-25 enforcement officers across the Nation, including Canada and Mexico, will be targeting car and truck drivers that exhibit “Unsafe driving behavior” when sharing the road with commercial vehicles.
The Commercial Motor Vehicle Alliance (CVSA) created Operation Safe Driver Week to “help combat the number of deaths resulting from crashes involving large truck, buses and cars. Nearly 4000 people are killed and 100,000 injured in large truck and bus accidents. Many are caused by the truck or bus driver but many more are a direct result of the unsafe actions that car drivers take while driving around large vehicles.”
The week-long event will result in more traffic stops for all drivers, commercial and passenger, with the intent of making people aware of the individual responsibilities in lowering accidents and deaths by following the laws, focusing on the road and making sure they are following safe practices on the road. You will see more enforcement on the roads and they will be looking at everyone – assessing YOUR safety on the roads. Expect more seat belt tickets, roadside inspections and general traffic stops for all drivers.
Increasing the awareness of the general motoring public that many truck accidents are actually the direct result of unsafe practices of the cars in or around a large vehicle is a never-ending battle. Following to close to a truck, staying alongside a truck for extended periods, cutting in front of a truck (into the safe zone they create to be able to stop safely) and slowing down suddenly, expecting a truck going 65-70 miles an hour to yield when entering a highway, distracted driving practices, all of these can cause accidents. Trucks need more space to slow and stop, (about the length of a football field, at highway speeds) they need room to maneuver and when car encroach upon that space they can easily become victims. It is just physics; larger heavier objects will have more force and need more time to stop.
Truck drivers are typically the best and most professional drivers; they are looking out for the safety of everyone, and are the first to help out in accidents. They are no different than most people on the road just making a living and trying to support the family, this is their job and they do it well. Truck drivers make as many as 80,000 decisions a day to get that job done. No driver ever sets out to have an accident, but one wrong decision on their part or one unsafe, unthinking, distracted motorist can change the outcome of that driver’s day in a heartbeat.
Here are some things to think about when driving around a big truck or bus.
Give trucks and large vehicles the respect they deserve, the room and time they need to drive safely. Are you on your phone? Distracted by kids? Rubber-necking? Eating? Reading a book while driving? Tired? Mad? Speeding? Day-Dreaming? These are behaviors that kill. Complacency, distraction, speed, rest and inattentiveness, don’t let these hurt you or anyone else.
During the week of October 19-25, the CVSA along with the FMCSA has prepared special awareness training opportunities to help drivers learn about safety and awareness while sharing the roads. Check the CVSA website for education opportunities. Together we can make a difference. The life you save may be your own, but every life saved is a victory and each of us has a part in that victory.
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As always, Safe Journey!