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Speeding tops list of citations issued during Operation Safe Driver Week

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According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute, speeding has been a factor in more than a quarter of crash deaths since 2008. During Operation Safe Driver Week, 1,454 citations were issued to CMV drivers for speeding-related violations. (©2019 FOTOSEARCH)

GREENBELT, Md. — During the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Operation Safe Driver Week July 14-20, commercial vehicle enforcement personnel in Canada and the United States took to North America’s roadways to identify drivers engaging in unsafe driving behaviors and issue citations and/or warnings.

Officers issued 46,752 citations and 87,624 warnings to drivers for traffic enforcement violations, ranging from speeding to failure to wear a seatbelt.

Drivers’ actions contribute to 94% of all traffic crashes.

The Operation Safe Driver Week enforcement initiative is the commercial motor vehicle law enforcement community’s response to this transportation safety issue.

Through traffic safety initiatives, such as Operation Safe Driver Week, law enforcement personnel aim to deter negative driver behaviors and reduce the number of crashes involving large trucks, motorcoaches and passenger vehicles by identifying and citing drivers exhibiting risky driving behaviors and tendencies.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute, speeding has been a factor in more than a quarter of crash deaths since 2008. In response to this alarming trend, CVSA selected speeding as the emphasis area for this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week. Speeding/violations of the basic speed law/driving too fast for conditions was the most cited violation this year with 17,556 total citations. Passenger vehicle drivers were issued 16,102 citations and 21,001 warnings, and CMV drivers received 1,454 citations and 2,126 warnings.

As part of this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week, law enforcement agencies and motor carriers throughout North America promoted and supported the following message, Late won’t kill you, speeding will, by distributing postcards provided by CVSA. Motor carriers and law enforcement distributed nearly 12,000 postcards in the weeks leading up to Operation Safe Driver Week.

The top 10 driver-behavior citations (and warnings) given to CMV drivers were as follows:

  1. Speeding/violation of basic speed law/driving too fast for conditions: 1,454 citations, 2,126 warnings.
  2. Failure to wear a seatbelt: 954, 586.
  3. Failure to obey a traffic control device: 436, 871.
  4. Using a handheld phone/testing: 249, 170.
  5. Improper lane change: 92, 194.
  6. Following too closely” 57, 143.
  7. Possession/use/under influence of alcohol and/or drugs: 55, 18.
  8. Improper passing: 41, 30.
  9. Inattentive, careless and/or reckless driving: 32, 55.
  10. Operating CMV while ill or fatigued: 25, 45.

The top 10 driver-behavior citations (and warnings) given to passenger vehicle drivers were as follows:

  1. Speeding/violation of basic speed law/driving too fast for conditions: 16,102 citations, 21,001 warnings.
  2. Failure to wear a seatbelt: 1,794, 773.
  3. Failure to obey traffic control device: 540, 1,063
  4. Inattentive, careless and/or reckless driving: 517, 484.
  5. Possession/use/under influence of alcohol and/or drugs: 503, 2.
  6. Using a handheld phone/testing: 415, 400.
  7. Improper lane change: 352, 1,226.
  8. Failure to yield right of way: 297, 198.
  9. Improper passing: 280, 723.
  10. Following too closely: 188, 853.

Failure to wear a seatbelt was the second highest violation for both types of drivers – CMV and passenger vehicle.

There were 954 CMV drivers and 1,794 passenger vehicle drivers received citations for not wearing a seatbelt. Buckling up is the single most effective thing vehicle drivers and passengers can do to protect themselves in the event of a crash. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s 2016 Safety Belt Usage by Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers Survey found that seatbelt usage among CMV drivers was 86.1%. Among passenger vehicle drivers, the national seatbelt use rate was 89.6% in 2018. In Canada, 95% of vehicle occupants wear seatbelts.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, short-term, high-visibility enforcement, such as CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver Week, combined with media coverage, is particularly effective for reaching people who typically don’t use seat belts regularly.

Drunk driving crashes claim nearly 11,000 lives per year and NHTSA’s National Roadside Survey found that 20% of surveyed drivers tested positive for potentially impairing drugs. During all roadside interactions with the public, law enforcement personnel are trained to look for evidence of driver impairment by alcohol or drugs – legal or illegal. During this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week, 33 CMV drivers were cited for possession/use/under influence of drugs; 22 received citations for possession/use/under influence of alcohol. 159 passenger vehicle drivers were cited for possession/use/under influence of drugs and 344 were cited for possession/use/under influence of alcohol. Possession/use/under influence of alcohol and/or drugs was the fifth most cited violation for passenger vehicle drivers (503). It was the seventh most cited violation for CMV drivers (55).

In 2017, there were 3,166 distraction-related fatal crashes in the U.S. and distracted driving contributed to an estimated 21% of fatal collisions in Canada in 2016. Distractions include anything that takes the driver’s attention off the road, such as talking or texting on a cellphone, eating, talking with passengers, adjusting vehicle or navigations controls, etc. During Operation Safe Driver Week, 249 citations and 170 warnings were given to CMV drivers for using a handheld phone/texting while operating the vehicle; 416 citations and 400 warnings were given to passenger vehicle drivers.

“Although CVSA is an organization focused on commercial motor vehicle safety, we know that if we want to prevent crashes involving commercial motor vehicles and passenger vehicles, it’s important that we focus on both types of vehicles and drivers,” said CVSA President Chief Jay Thompson with the Arkansas Highway Police. “Operation Safe Driver Week is our effort to focus on driver behaviors, the leading cause of crashes. We hope that contact with law enforcement during this traffic safety initiative helps to combat dangerous driver behaviors in the future, ultimately making our roadways safer.”

While Operation Safe Driver Week is an enforcement operation focused on driver behaviors, during a traffic stop, an officer may notice and issue citations or warnings for vehicle-related issues. Such violations are noted as state/local driver violations on law enforcement’s reporting documentation. During this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week, passenger vehicle drivers received 16,050 state/local driver citations and 29,145 warnings, and CMV drivers received state/local driver 6,170 citations and 27,163 warnings. Examples of state/local driver violations include vehicle-related observations, such as mirror equipment violations, expired license plate tags, non-working lamps, etc.

Operation Safe Driver Week is sponsored by CVSA, in partnership with FMCSA and with support from industry and transportation safety organizations. The initiative aims to help improve the behavior of all drivers operating in an unsafe manner – either in or around commercial motor vehicles – through educational and traffic enforcement strategies to address individuals exhibiting high-risk driving behaviors.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Molly Adams

    September 18, 2019 at 8:25 am

    These numbers in the list are extremely contradicting and confusing. Can you provide clarification? The rest of the content lists numbers that do not match up.

    Thanks!

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The Nation

39 people found dead in truck container in southeast England

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Police officers attend the scene after a truck, in rear, was found to contain a large number of dead bodies, in Thurrock, South England, early Wednesday October 23, 2019. Police in southeastern England said that 39 people were found dead Wednesday inside a truck container believed to have come from Bulgaria. (Associated Press: ALASTAIR GRANT)

LONDON — Investigators were trying to piece together the movements of a large cargo truck found Wednesday containing the bodies of 39 people in one of Britain’s worst people smuggling tragedies.

Details about the victims, including where they were from, were scarce. Police in southeast England said they have not been identified — a process they warned would be slow.

The truck’s driver — a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland — was arrested on suspicion of murder. He has not been charged and his name has not been released.

He and other drivers who may have been at the wheel before him would have taken advantage of the European Union’s generally open borders to travel in several countries without border checks. Britain remains an attractive destination for immigrants, even as the U.K. is negotiating its divorce from the EU.

In Parliament, Prime Minister Boris Johnson put aside the Brexit crisis, at least for a few minutes, and vowed that the people traffickers would be found and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

“All such traders in human beings should be hunted down and brought to justice,” he said.

Ambulance workers discovered the bodies after being called at 1:40 a.m. to a truck on the grounds of the Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of London on the River Thames. It was unclear who called the ambulance service.

No cause of death has been made public. Police said one victim appeared to be a teenager but gave no further details.

Police initially said the cargo truck had traveled through Ireland and then to Wales via ferry. But Essex police later said they believe the container with the people inside went from the port of Zeebrugge in Belgium to Purfleet, England, where it arrived early Wednesday. Police said they believe the tractor unit traveled from Northern Ireland and picked up the container unit.

“This is a tragic incident where a large number of people have lost their lives. Our inquiries are ongoing to establish what has happened,” Essex Police Chief Superintendent Andrew Mariner told reporters.

The cargo truck had a Bulgaria registration, Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said in a news release. But Bulgarian authorities said they could not yet confirm that the truck had started its journey there. The Foreign Ministry said the Swedish-made “Scania” truck was registered in the Bulgarian Black Sea port city of Varna to a company owned by a woman from Ireland.

“We are in contact with our embassy in London and with British authorities,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tsvetana Krasteva said.

The number of victims was shocking, although it has become sadly common in recent years for small numbers of migrants to occasionally be found dead in sealed vehicles after having been abandoned by traffickers.

The tragedy recalls the death of 58 migrants in 2000 in a truck in Dover, England, and the deaths in 2015 of 71 migrants from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan who were found suffocated in the back of a refrigerated truck that was abandoned on an Austrian highway close to the Hungarian border.

It seems likely the traffickers shunned the most popular English Channel route from Calais, France, to Dover, England because of increased surveillance at those ports and instead chose a more circuitous route.

Dover and Calais, which have been under pressure from human traffickers for years, have sniffer dogs, monitors and more advanced technological surveillance due to the fact that they are the endpoints for the Channel Tunnel between France and Britain.

Groups of migrants have repeatedly landed on English shores using small boats for the risky Channel crossing, and migrants are sometimes found in the trunks of cars that disembark from the massive ferries that link France and England, but Wednesday’s macabre find in an industrial park was a reminder that trafficking gangs are still profiting from the human trade.

“To put 39 people into a locked metal container shows a contempt for human life that is evil,” lawmaker Jackie Doyle-Price, who represents the region in parliament, told Parliament.

The National Crime Agency said its specialists were working to “urgently identify and take action against any organized crime groups who have played a role in causing these deaths.”

It said in May that the number of people being smuggled into Britain via cargo trucks was on the rise.

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The Nation

CDL Meals forms partnership with American Association of Owner-Operators

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CDL Meals offers a variety of organic chef-prepared meals that help drivers make healthy eating choices while on the road. (Courtesy: CDL MEALS)

ANAHEIM, Calif. — CDL Meals, the division of Fresh n’ Lean focusing on healthful meal options for professional truck and bus drivers, has formed a partnership with the American Association of Owner Operators (AAOO).

CDL Meals offers a variety of organic chef-prepared meals that help drivers make healthy eating choices while on the road.

“We could not be more excited to launch our first healthy-eating alliance with AAOO,” said Bob Perry, director of CDL Meals. “We believe that people working in all industries deserve to live a healthy lifestyle and have access to the tools they need to ensure overall wellbeing, despite industry standards and limitations. CDL Meals has already made a positive impact on drivers and through this partnership, more operators can benefit from the quality meal plans.”

The American Association of Owner Operators is a nationwide organization dedicated to providing professional truckers and small fleet owners with the latest technology, benefits and assistance to advance in today’s trucking industry.

Perry said through the partnership, members of the AAOO will have access to CDL’s seasonal menus, free nationwide delivery and the promise of fresh, affordable meals on the road.

“We are so thankful the team at Fresh n’ Lean saw an opening to help improve the wellbeing of those in the trucking industry,” said David Huff, CEO of AAOO. “We are committed to helping drivers stay safe while out on the road so they can get back home to their family and friends. “Good nutrition is the most important part of staying healthy and staying healthy is a huge factor in staying safe. That’s why we are so excited to partner with CDL Meals and provide great tasting meals at an affordable price to our members.”

Perry said CDL Meals is a service formulated especially for commercially licensed drivers to deliver chef-prepared food items anywhere within the U.S. using organic ingredients to create balanced, wholesome meals. Each menu option consists of a combination of protein, healthy carbohydrates, and vegetables. All meals are delivered fresh and can be refrigerated for up to seven days. The vacuum-sealed trays can be heated quickly and enjoyed at any time.

Along with the meals, each purchase comes with a 14-page driver wellness education booklet that includes dietary tips, an exercise plan, and suggestions to improve overall health through simple lifestyle changes.

For more information on CDL Meals, visit www.cdlmeals.com.

For more information on AAOO, visit https://aaofoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

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NHTSA: Overall traffic fatalities in 2018 decline 2.4%, 2019 drop likely

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NHTSA said the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled decreased by 3.4 percent (from 1.17 in 2017 to 1.13 in 2018), the lowest fatality rate since 2014. (Associated Press)

WASHINGTON — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Tuesday released highway crash fatality data for 2018, showing a 2.4% decline in overall fatalities, the second consecutive year of reduced crash fatalities.

“This is encouraging news, but still far too many perished or were injured, and nearly all crashes are preventable, so much more work remains to be done to make America’s roads safer for everyone,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said.

The data, compiled by NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), shows that highway fatalities decreased in 2018 with 913 fewer fatalities, down to 36,560 people from 37,473 people in 2017. The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled also decreased by 3.4 percent (from 1.17 in 2017 to 1.13 in 2018), the lowest fatality rate since 2014.

The 2018 FARS release also clarifies previously released data on large trucks involved in fatal crashes. NHTSA reexamined supporting material and reclassified several light pickup trucks to an appropriate large truck category (10,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR). As a result, the 9% increase in large-truck-related fatalities reported for 2017 has been revised to 4.9%. For 2018, large-truck related fatalities increased by 0.9 percent. The details of the scope of the changes are documented in the 2018 fatal motor vehicle crashes overview research note.

No data was available on Class 8 tractor-trailer combinations.

Other findings from the 2018 FARS data include:

  • Fatalities among children (14 and younger) declined 10.3%
  • Alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities declined 3.6%
  • Speeding-related fatalities declined 5.7%
  • Motorcyclist fatalities declined 4.7 percent.

“New vehicles are safer than older ones and when crashes occur, more new vehicles are equipped with advanced technologies that prevent or reduce the severity of crashes,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator James Owens said. “NHTSA has spent recent years partnering with state and local governments and safety advocates to urge the public to never drive impaired or distracted, to avoid excessive speed, and to always buckle up.”

Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governor Highway Safety Association (GHSA) said the organization was pleased to see the 2018 decline and the estimated 3.4% dip thus far in 2019.

“A decline in 2019 would mark three straight years of fewer fatalities despite a strong economy, which typically correlates with increased traffic deaths,” he said. “However, the only acceptable level of deaths is zero, and we will not rest until that is achieved.”

Adkins said GHSA was glad to note progress in reducing alcohol-related, speeding-related and motorcyclist fatalities in 2018.

“The tremendous investments made today in highway safety have been beneficial, but clearly not commensurate with the need,” Adkins said. “GHSA is committed to working with our partners in the federal government, advocacy community and at the state and local level to accelerate the momentum toward zero deaths on our nation’s roadways.”

NHTSA said the projected 2019 decline translates to an estimated first-half 2019 fatality rate of 1.06, the lowest first-half level since 2015. The estimates for the second quarter of 2019 represent the seventh-consecutive year-over-year quarterly decline in fatalities, starting in the last quarter of 2017.

NHTSA is identifying opportunities to leverage its resources and collaborate with modal partners within USDOT to reduce fatalities among pedestrians and pedalcyclists (bicyclists and riders of two-wheel, nonmotorized vehicles, tricycles, and unicycles powered solely by pedals), among whom 2018 fatalities unfortunately increased by 3.4% (to 6,283) and 6.3% (to 857), respectively.

With the release of the 2018 and 2019 data, NHTSA also introduced its new Fatality and Injury Reporting System Tool (FIRST), a modernized crash query tool that lets users not only query fatal crash data but also generate estimates of crashes and people injured in crashes. The upgraded functionalities in the new tool include generating multi-year trends, estimates of alcohol involvement, and charting/tabulation/mapping of query results. The tool, along with instructions on its usage, can be accessed here.

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