While the COVID-19 coronavirus slammed the brakes on Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s International Roadcheck inspection blitz that was to have been held last week, the organization says it won’t stop its next enforcement effort.
The CVSA says 2020’s Operation Safe Driver Week will go on as scheduled, July 12-18. During this week-long traffic enforcement safety initiative, law enforcement personnel throughout North America will look for drivers who are engaging in unsafe driving behaviors. Drivers violating highway safety laws — and especially speeding — will be pulled over and may be issued a warning or citation.
CVSA says stay-at-home requirements required by COVID-19 has meant fewer vehicles are on the nation’s highways. At the same time, the organization says many jurisdictions have seen increases in speeding.
According to the CVSA, average speeds measured during the first week of April in the five largest U.S. metropolitan areas increased significantly. 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.
The CVSA cites these examples:
- 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%.
- 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 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.
“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.”
In addition to a focus on speeding, examples of other dangerous driver behaviors that law enforcement will track during Operation Safe Driver Week include distracted driving, failure to use a seatbelt, following too closely, improper lane change, reckless or aggressive driving, failure to obey traffic control devices, and evidence of drunk or drugged driving.