As the COVID-19 crisis continues, one of the biggest Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) enforcement efforts is still on track to start in just a little over two weeks.
The CVSA says that Operation Safe Driver Week 2020 will take place throughout North America on July 12 through 18 — in spite of an uptick in Coronavirus cases in many states. Law enforcement will be increasing patrols on the lookout for unsafe driving behaviors performed by both commercial vehicle drivers and passenger vehicle drivers.
This year, the pandemic forced the CVSA to indefinitely postpone the International Roadcheck blitz scheduled for May 5 — 7 for the first time in its 32 year history.
For the second year in a row, the area of emphasis for Operation Safe Drive Week will be on speeding by both commercial vehicle drivers and passenger vehicle drivers.
During last year’s Operation Safe Driver Week, commercial vehicle drivers were issued 1,454 citations and 2,126 warnings for speeding.
The CVSA explained that a “severe spike in speeding” during the COVID-19 emergency led them to choose this year’s area of emphasis.
From the CVSA:
As the number of vehicles on roadways decreased in March and April, average speeds measured during the first week of April increased significantly in the five largest U.S. metropolitan areas. According to recent data, the average speed on interstate highways, state highways and expressways in those areas increased by as much as 75% compared to January and February.
In New York City, transportation officials reported an increase of more than 60% in the number of speed camera tickets issued in March compared to a year ago. At the same time, traffic was down more than 90% compared to January.
In Washington, D.C., traffic decreased 80% in March compared to January, while officials recorded a 20% increase in March speeding tickets. Of those tickets, violations for driving 21-25 mph over the speed limit rose by nearly 40%.
Over just one weekend, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, police charged 18 drivers with stunt driving, with speeds of 80-106 mph on the Don Valley Parkway, a major freeway that’s limited to 55 mph.
California reported an increase in speeding violations and although the California Highway Patrol’s call volume has decreased, the crashes they have recently responded to have been worse.
Tucson Police reported a 40% increase in one-vehicle wrecks, which usually happens when a driver’s going so fast they lose control.
In Minnesota, motor vehicle crashes and fatalities more than doubled compared to the same time period in previous years. Half those deaths were related to speeding or careless or negligent driving.
In Colorado, Indiana, Nebraska and Utah, police have clocked highway speeds of more than 100 mph.
Chicago and Los Angeles went from travel speed increases of 35-38% above average to 74-75% above average in just one week.
During Operation Safe Driver Week, law enforcement agencies will also be on the lookout for other unsafe driving behaviors like distracted driving, following too closely, impaired driving, unsafe lane changes, failure to obey a traffic device, and seatbelt violations.
“It’s essential that this enforcement initiative, which focuses on identifying and deterring unsafe driving behaviors, such as speeding, go on as scheduled,” said CVSA President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police. “As passenger vehicle drivers are limiting their travel to necessary trips and many commercial motor vehicle drivers are busy transporting vital goods to stores, it’s more important than ever to monitor our roadways for safe transport.”