Truck drivers should prepare for an increased presence by law enforcement this week. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance embark upon its annual Operation Safe Driver Week. It combats unsafe driving behaviors by truckers and passenger car drivers.
The annual enforcement blitz is scheduled for the week of October 15-21. Officers look for speeding, distracted driving, texting and driving, and seat belt usage. In addition, they monitor following too closely, improper lane changes, failure to obey traffic safety devices, and more.
Here are 8 Tips to Help Avoid Fines:
1. Put down the phone.
Law enforcement agencies refer to distracted driving as “the DUI of today.” Texting while driving is egregious, taking the driver’s attention off the road. But, you also don’t have to be on the road long to spot someone talking on a handset. Both are prohibited by state laws in many cases, but they’re also expressly restricted for commercial motor vehicle drivers.
2. Keep your eyes on the road.
Smartphones aren’t the only culprit. There are plenty of other things in vehicles today that can take a driver’s attention away from the task at hand — i.e., piloting those several tons (or many more) of steel missile on wheels safely.
3. Don’t speed.
Who hasn’t laid into the gas pedal now and then when driving along? But, watch your speed particularly during Safe Driver Week. It’s a time of year when road construction is very prevalent, and officers are found paying particular attention to speeders, distracted drivers and so on in construction zones.
4. Buckle up.
Aside from staring at a smartphone, the next-quickest tip-off for enforcement officers to pull drivers over will be failure to wear a seat belt. Some believe seat belts lack comfort. However, for many decades, wearing a seat belt saves lives in crashes.
5. Give way.
Many states have “move over” laws that require drivers to pull away from the closest lane to a stationary police vehicle with flashing lights. Usually tied to the stipulation “if it’s safe to do so.” but if it isn’t safe to switch lanes, these laws may require the driver passing by to slow down considerably.
6. Don’t tailgate.
Do your best to give the driver ahead some room. Truck drivers face particular challenges with this since they’re often cut off by passenger vehicles, sometimes by those entering or exiting the highway or maybe a driver who’s just not paying attention.
7. Straighten up and fly right.
Signal your lane changes properly, don’t blow traffic lights and stop signs and obey the rest of the traffic signs and devices out there. Officers will be watching for those things during Safe Driver Week.
8. Get the rest of your ducks in a row, too.
If an offer cites you or pulls you over, they also check for other violations. Bradley Penneau, a safety program consultant for Telogis, A Verizon Company, commented in a recent Fleet Owner webinar. He stated that a majority of the top commercial vehicle violations are “BLTs.” Meaning, brakes, lights, and tires.
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