CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The Public Service Commission says additional highway patrols are being deployed this week to high-traffic areas of I-79, 1-64 and the West Virginia Turnpike as part of Operation Safe Driver Week.
The event, which runs from July 11 to July 17 this year is sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. Law enforcement officers across the country participate in an effort to make sure drivers are safe on the road, according to the PSC.
According to the CVSA, the week-long event serves as a safe-driving awareness and outreach initiative with a goal to improve the driving behaviors of both passenger vehicle drivers and commercial motor vehicle drivers by using educational and traffic enforcement strategies.
The commission says this year’s event will focus primarily on speeding. According to the National Safety Council even though traffic was reduced due to the pandemic, last year traffic fatalities increased by 24%, which officials say is the highest one-year increase in 96 years. The council says speeding was cited as a major factor in the increase of traffic fatalities.
“Speeding has been a factor in more than a quarter of crash deaths in the United States since 2008 and is the most frequent driver-related crash factor for drivers of commercial motor vehicles and passenger vehicles,” said PSC Chairman Charlotte Lane. “Every time you take the wheel, you take lives into your hands. It is important that all drivers are aware of that responsibility. Operation Safe Driver Week is just one more reminder of how important it is to drive safely.”
According to the PSC, when their officers stop a commercial vehicle for speeding, they also conduct a safety inspection. The officers conducted 535 safety inspections and issued nearly 400 citations and warnings during last year’s Operation Safe Driver Week. The PSC says more than half of those warnings and citations were issued for speeding.
The PSC says officers will also be on the lookout for reckless or aggressive driving, impaired driving, distracted driving, seatbelt use or other unsafe driving behaviors. Any commercial motor vehicle drivers who exhibit any of these risky driving practices will be pulled over and issued a warning or citation, the commission says.