Young & McCarthy LLP

Operation Safe Driver Week to begin on July 15

Motorists in Ohio and around the country can expect to see semi-tractor trailers being pulled over for safety inspections in mid-July. That is because the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will be holding its annual Operation Safe Driver Week in the United States and Canada between July 15 and July 21. During the seven-day road safety initiative, law enforcement will be on the lookout for unsafe commercial vehicles and dangerous driving behavior, and commercial vehicle inspectors will check the brakes and other safety systems of thousands of tractor-trailers.

Truck drivers who exceed posted speed limits, do not use their turn signals or fail to maintain safe distances can expect to receive particular attention during Operation Safe Driver Week. A study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that 88 percent of truck accidents and 93 percent of all passenger car accidents are caused by driver errors. Police officers pulled over and ticketed 38,878 commercial vehicle drivers during Operation Safe Driver Week in 2016.

Road safety advocates have called for the strengthening of federal hours of service regulations, but only 18 truck drivers were cited for being excessively fatigued during Operation Safe Driver Week in 2016. Most were cited for either violating state or local traffic laws or speeding according to figures from the CVSA.

The citations handed out during safety initiatives like Operation Safe Driver Week could be used to establish a pattern of negligent behavior in truck accident lawsuits. The plaintiffs in civil trials must convince juries that their allegations are more likely true than false, and evidence indicating that the defendants have faced sanctions for acting recklessly in the past may help them to accomplish this.

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