Speeding once again tops list of Operation Safe Driver Week violations

user-gravatar Headshot
Updated Oct 10, 2023
Big rig on a highway

Speeding continued to top the list of violations found by law enforcement officers in the U.S. and Canada during this year's Operation Safe Driver Week, which was staged by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance July 10 to 16.

Officers handed out a total of 2,219 warnings and 2,024 citations/tickets for speeding to commercial vehicle operators and passenger car drivers. Commercial motor vehicle drivers received 1,594 warnings and 731 tickets/citations, and passenger vehicle drivers received 625 warnings and 1,293 citations/tickets for speed-related infractions.

In all, law enforcement officers in Canada and the U.S. initiated 11,448 traffic stops of commercial motor vehicle drivers and passenger vehicle drivers who were engaging in unsafe driving behaviors during the week. Officers issued a total of 4,494 tickets/citations and 5,756 warnings to drivers, commercial motor vehicle and passenger vehicle drivers combined, according to a statement from the CVSA.

A total of 4,592 warnings and 2,634 tickets/citations were given to commercial motor vehicle drivers. Officers issued 1,164 warnings and 1,860 tickets/citations to passenger vehicle drivers.

In the U.S., officers issued 4,329 warnings and 2,258 tickets/citations to commercial motor vehicle drivers, and 1,063 warnings and 1,503 tickets/citations to passenger vehicle drivers.

Officers in Canada issued 263 warnings and 376 citations/tickets to commercial motor vehicle drivers and 101 warnings and 357 tickets/citations to passenger vehicle drivers.

Drivers were given warnings or issued tickets/citations for “other state/local driver violations,” which was the leading reason for tickets/citations for commercial motor vehicle drivers and the second leading for passenger vehicle drivers. “Other state/local driver violations” include such violations as no registration certificate, no proof of insurance, size and weight violations, and defective equipment, which are violations officers usually discover after they have pulled over a driver for another infraction.

A total of 1,634 warnings and 1,119 tickets/citations were issued for other state/local driver violations. Of those, 1,357 warnings and 859 tickets/citations were given to commercial motor vehicle drivers. Passenger vehicle drivers were given 277 warnings and 260 tickets/citations.

Another top unsafe driving behavior identified during Operation Safe Driver Week was failure to wear a seat belt. A total of 512 warnings and 553 tickets/citations were issued.

Commercial motor vehicle drivers received 455 warnings and 467 tickets/citations for not wearing their seat belt. Passenger vehicle drivers were given 57 warnings and 86 tickets/citations for failure to wear their safety belt.

Texting or using a handheld device was another top violation. A total of 243 warnings and 262 tickets/citations were issued to drivers who were texting or using a mobile device while driving.

Commercial motor vehicle drivers received 156 warnings and 132 tickets/citations for texting/using a handheld device while operating a commercial motor vehicle. The U.S. Department of Transportation restricts the use of all hand-held mobile devices by commercial motor vehicle drivers. Passenger vehicle drivers received 87 warnings and 130 tickets/citations for texting/using a handheld device while behind the wheel. 

Failure to obey a traffic-control device was a top five warning and ticket/citation for both driver types. A total of 715 warnings and 320 tickets/citations were given to commercial motor vehicle and passenger vehicle drivers combined. Thirty warnings and 24 tickets citations were given to passenger vehicle drivers for not obeying a traffic-control device; commercial motor vehicle drivers received 685 warnings and 296 tickets/citations.

This year's numbers represent a considerable decline from 2022's Operation Safe Driver Week.

Last year, officers in Canada and the U.S. pulled over more than 35,000 commercial motor vehicles and passenger vehicles and issued 26,164 warnings and citations to commercial motor vehicle drivers and passenger vehicle drivers.

In 2022, officers issued 8,586 citations and 7,299 warnings for speeding/violating basic speed law/driving too fast for conditions. That amounts to 2,577 warnings to commercial motor vehicle drivers and 4,722 to passenger vehicle drivers. Citations were given to 1,490 commercial motor vehicle drivers and 7,096 passenger vehicle drivers.

These numbers depart from those of this year's enforcement week because CVSA instituted a new data collection process for submitting roadside data submissions online this year.

William Elovirta, CVSA's director of Enforcement Programs said the numbers are down this year across the board for all the initiatives that were a part of the data collection change. He said CVSA attributes this year's lower numbers to the transition process.

"I would also note that a few jurisdictions were also committed to other highway safety enforcement activities and/or had personnel committed to other policing priorities that normally would have participated," said Elovirta. "For some agencies, the change was a challenge as compared to the previous process for submitting data."

Elovirta said, "However, during the CVSA Annual Conference and Exposition in Grapevine, Texas the Operation Safe Driver program participants were committed to continuing to move forward in the use of the new online data collection process. CVSA is following up with jurisdictions to see how to better support those jurisdictions that had challenges. This year’s activity moving forward will be the baseline for future comparisons."

Thirty-eight U.S. states and Canadian provinces participated in this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week.

Next year’s Operation Safe Driver Week is scheduled for July 7-13.