Two nationwide safety enforcement efforts are lined up for the coming months as part of an effort toward the goal of zero traffic fatalities on the roadways. These efforts also can greatly benefit trucking companies that are running in compliance with safety laws and regulations.

Operation Safe Driver Week and Brake Safety Week are organized by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), a nonprofit association comprised of commercial motor vehicle safety officials and trucking industry representatives. HELP Inc., the non-profit operator of PrePass, is an associate member and a platinum sponsor of CVSA.

Operation Safe Driver will take place July 15-21, as traffic safety personnel around the country will be on the lookout for unsafe driving behaviors by commercial motor vehicle drivers as well as passenger vehicle drivers.

Unsafe driving behaviors by both commercial and passenger vehicle drivers continue to be the leading cause of crashes, according to The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) “Large Truck Crash Causation Study.” The study cites driver behavior as the critical reason for more than 88% of large truck crashes and 93% of passenger vehicle crashes.

Examples of dangerous driver behaviors that enforcement personnel will target during Operation Safe Driver Week are speeding, distracted driving, texting, failure to use a seatbelt while operating a CMV or a passenger vehicle, following too closely, improper lane changes and failure to obey traffic control devices.

To find out about Operation Safe Driver Week enforcement events going on in your area, contact the agency or department responsible for overseeing CMV safety within your jurisdiction, or your state trucking association.

Brake Safety Week is set for Sept. 16-22. That’s when CVSA-certified law enforcement personnel will conduct roadside inspections on commercial motor vehicles to identify and remove CMVs with critical brake violations from the roads as well as to call attention to the dangers of operating CMVs with faulty brake systems.

During this time, inspectors will primarily conduct the North American Standard Level I Inspection, a 37-step procedure that includes an examination of truck driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness. Many outreach and educational efforts by CMV inspectors, participating motor carriers and others in the industry also take place during this brake safety campaign and are integral to the success of the campaign.

In addition, enforcement personnel in 12 jurisdictions will use performance-based brake testing (PBBT) equipment to measure vehicle braking efficiency. PBBTs measure the cumulative brake force for the entire vehicle and divide it by the total vehicle weight to determine overall vehicle braking efficiency.

According to CVSA, brake-related violations comprised the largest percentage of out-of-service vehicle violations cited during the 2017 International Roadcheck, the three-day truck safety blitz held early each summer throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico. CVSA also offers a number of Operation Airbrake resources to help educate drivers, mechanics and others on the importance of proper brake inspection, maintenance and operation.

While some in trucking may see such safety efforts as nothing more than activities that will delay their travels, those who are running well-maintained equipment in a compliant way look at it as a benefit.

That’s because the more “clean inspections” a fleet has, the better its federal safety records. This includes the fleet’s Inspection Selection System (ISS) score, which helps enforcement prioritize which trucks should be pulled in for inspections. The ISS score is also a major factor in qualifying trucks to participate in electronic bypass programs such as PrePass.

You can read more about the benefits of having good truck inspections by reading this recent entry on the PrePass blog.

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