TOPEKA – Drivers on the nation’s highways may find themselves under the watchful eye of law enforcement a little more than usual this week. Operation Safe Driver Week is being observed July 10-16. The goal of the yearly observance, started by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), is to reduce the number of crashes involving commercial trucks through education, traffic enforcement strategies and interactions with law enforcement. However, any driver, regardless of whether they are driving a big rig or a passenger vehicle will be cited if dangerous driving such as speeding, distracted driving, following too closely, improper lane change, drunk or drugged driving is observed.
Special investigators with the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC), which regulates motor carriers in the state, are teaming up with Kansas Highway Patrol Troopers and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Investigators to conduct inspections at weigh stations located in Olathe (both North and Southbound), Wabaunsee, Belleville, Kanorado, Liberal and South Haven. At the weigh stations, they will also be talking to motor carriers about the need to focus on improving their driving routines when sharing the road with others.
“Unfortunately yesterday, Kansas had its 31st tragic fatal crash involving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) when a pick-up ran into the back of a turning CMV on US-160 in Stanton County. Last year there were a total of 52 fatal crashes involving CMV’s in Kansas, at this rate that number will be exceeded this year. Many of these crashes were the result of unsafe driving and poor decisions. That is the purpose of these initiatives, to educate everyone to be safe when traveling on the highways, whether they are in a commercial or personal vehicle. We want everyone to arrive at their destination safely.” said Gary Davenport, KCC Deputy Director of Transportation.
The KCC offers some safety best practices for drivers to keep in mind when sharing the road with large trucks this summer.
- Give them space and maintain a safe following distance.
- Pass with care and don’t cut them off.
- Stay out of the blind spots – if you can’t see their mirrors, they can’t see you.
- Signal your intentions.
- Focus on driving, not your phone.
- Don’t drive fatigued.