With Operation Safe Driver Week quickly approaching, fleet managers, safety managers and drivers need to be more vigilant than ever. During the weeklong traffic enforcement safety initiative, law enforcement personnel throughout North America will be looking for drivers who engage in unsafe driving behaviors on the nation’s roadways; drivers identified displaying unsafe driving will be pulled over by law enforcement and issued a warning or citation.
But this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week is different.
With the COVID-19 pandemic initially reducing the number of drivers on our nation’s roads, it did not reduce those drivers’ speed. In fact, speeding increased. In March and April, average speeds on interstate highways, state highways and expressways in the five largest U.S. metropolitan areas increased by as much as 75% when compared to January and February. And, with more people taking to the roads due to the nation reopening and summer vacations, speeding has not decreased.
“According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, less traffic may be encouraging some drivers to ignore traffic safety laws, including speed limits,” CVSA said. “Despite there being far fewer vehicles on the road due to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, many jurisdictions are seeing a severe spike in speeding.”
That’s why the focus for this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week is speeding.
During last year’s Operation Safe Driver Week, speeding was the most-ticketed traffic offense – resulting in 1,454 tickets and 2,126 warnings issued to truck drivers for speeding, and 16,102 citations and 21,001 warnings to passenger car drivers for the same offense.
As most readers know, speeding becomes even more dangerous for truck drivers who can’t stop as quickly as a passenger car.
Unfortunately, speeding is a risk that occurs frequently within fleets. Having analyzed thousands of collisions over more than a decade, SmartDrive has found that the severity of collisions significantly increases when a vehicle is speeding for the current weather conditions. This risk often goes unnoticed as your driver remains below the posted speed limit but above your corporate threshold for rainy, icy, snowy or foggy weather conditions. In fact, one customer commented, “From October to April, 53% of collisions were ‘speeding for conditions’ related. At 55 mph, a driver’s propensity to jackknife increases drastically.”
With summer storms it’s more important than ever to maintain control and have drivers watch their speed – no matter the speed limit. Now is the time to assess how your fleet is doing, how your drivers are driving and how you can help improve risky behaviors that will save lives, money and your company’s reputation.
To learn how to settle claims quickly and take control of your insurance costs, contact SmartDrive today.