How the Operation Safe Driver Campaign Is Saving Lives

In an effort to decrease the number of fatal crashes involving trucks and other commercial vehicles, the Operation Safe Driver (OSD) campaign was created in 2007. Every year, more than 5,000 people across the country are killed in trucking related accidents, and this program was instituted by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance to cut back on those deaths.

Fatal accidents involving trucks and other commercial vehicles have been a hot-button topic lately and several ideas have been suggested to help combat the problem. One of the possible solutions is to institute separate driving lanes for semi-trucks so that they are not mixed in with passenger vehicles on the highways. Another method for cutting back on accidents has been to enact new laws regarding how many rest hours truckers must have when they are on the road to cut down on driver fatigue.

Even though these ideas are a start, they have their drawbacks. The costs and man hours associated with implementing separate driving lanes for trucks are high and could potentially take many years to enact in all states. Additionally, the new laws regulating truck driver rest hours has come under fire by the trucking industry and it is possible that the ruling will be appealed. Finding a solution for the issue that is feasible and agreed upon by both the trucking industry and the general public seems to be a difficult task. However, the Operation Safe Driver campaign is trying to combat fatal accidents one driver at a time.

This last year alone, the OSD campaign performed roadside inspections of 261 motor carriers that have track records of unsafe practices including using vehicles after they’ve been given out-out-of-service notices and hiring unsafe drivers. The goal of the OSD campaign is to enforce regulations that have already been put in place to protect truck drivers and the other drivers on the road. Those in charge of the OSD say that many of the fatal crashes involving commercial vehicles are due to drivers or their companies not following regulations such as driver rest hours and truck safety. Therefore, if they can enforce some of the laws that are already in place, they feel the number of fatal crashes will be reduced.

In addition to enforcing existing laws, the OSD campaign also took to educating drivers of passenger vehicles about how to avoid accidents with semi-trucks. Some recent national statistics report that 88% of all passenger vehicle-commercial vehicle crashes are due to driver error by either one or both of the drivers. The same report showed that nearly 78% of the fatalities of these crashes were riding or driving in the passenger vehicles.

Hopefully, the steps taken by the OSD campaign in conjunction with new regulations and many new ideas for improving highway safety, will help reduce the number of fatal accidents involving trucks and passenger vehicles over the next ten years.

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