THP again joins effort to reduce unsafe driving practices in state
Posted: Monday, October 20, 2008 10:04 pm
The Tennessee Department of Safety is joining the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in a week-long campaign to curb unsafe driving practices that lead to commercial vehicle crashes.
The effort, dubbed “Operation Safe Driver,” is intended to improve commercial and non-commercial driver behavior through effective enforcement, education and awareness strategies.
The national public awareness and enforcement campaign started Sunday and runs through this coming Sunday.
Department of Safety Com-missioner Dave Mitchell encouraged Tennesseans and motorists traveling through the state with this simple message: “All drivers need to remember that the responsibility for driving safely is literally in your hands, and that includes greater awareness of passenger vehicles when traveling around commercial vehicles.”
“During the week, THP troopers across Tennessee will emphasize enforcement activity of commercial vehicle traffic, as well as non-commercial vehicle traffic, to include aggressive driving behavior by motorists around commercial vehicles,” Col. Mike Walker said. “Safety belt usage enforcement and roadside inspections will also be utilized to reduce commercial vehicle crashes and injuries.”
Drivers of passenger vehicles need to understand how commercial motor vehicles operate and know their limitations. “Sharing the road responsibly will mean safer drivers and fewer deaths and injuries on our nation’s roadways,” said Kendell Poole, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Office.
Since 2003, national statistics show about 12 percent of fatal crashes on highways involve trucks and buses.
Research has shown that most fatal crashes stem from decisions or actions made by the driver — passenger vehicle drivers, as well as commercial operators. In fact, in most commercial vehicle crashes involving a passenger vehicle, the four-wheeled vehicle typically contributes to the crash by cutting in front of the tractor-trailer rig or following too closely.
The campaign’s objectives are to:
• increase commercial vehicle traffic enforcement activity;
• increase non-commercial vehicle traffic enforcement ac-tivity;
• increase safety belt enforcement activity;
• increase driver roadside in-spections;
• increase driver regulatory compliance;
• implement commercial driver educational and awareness programs to the motor carrier population; and,
• increase the awareness to the motoring public about safe operations around commercial motor vehicles.
“Through Operation Safe Driver, the THP is a dedicated partner in efforts to take enforcement action against unsafe and fatigued commercial drivers and non-commercial drivers operating in an unsafe manner around commercial drivers,” said Capt. Dereck Stewart, who oversees Safety’s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division. “Operation Safe Driver hopes to raise the awareness of the motoring public about the hazards of operating around commercial vehicles.”
Improving highway safety for commercial vehicle operations starts with the driver and focuses on the importance of safe driving techniques.
Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance executive director Stephen Campbell said “the motor carrier industry plays an important role, and we encourage them to implement proactive steps to ensure their drivers are well rested, buckled up and utilizing proper trip planning to make it to their destinations safely.”