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News Release No. 55
For Immediate Release: October 20, 2008

VIRGINIA STATE POLICE TARGET UNSAFE
COMMERCIAL VEHICLE DRIVERS ON VIRGINIA HIGHWAYS
 North America’s “Operation Safe Driver” Kickoff in Dumfries, Va. – Oct. 20-24, 2008

RICHMOND – Virginia State Police Motor Carrier Safety Teams will be among state and local law enforcement across North America participating this week in Operation Safe Driver. Virginia, Michigan and Arizona each hosted official kickoff events for the commercial vehicle enforcement initiative Monday, Oct. 20, 2008. In Virginia, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Virginia State Police launched the weeklong campaign at the Interstate 95 Truck Rest Area in Dumfries, Va.

The CVSA, in partnership with the FMCSA, state, provincial and local law enforcement and the trucking industry are launching the campaign to combat the number of deaths in crashes involving large trucks and passenger vehicles. Operation Safe Driver is intended to improve commercial and non-commercial driver behavior and performance through effective enforcement, education and awareness strategies.

Captain Ronald B. Saunders“Beginning this morning and continuing through the week, the Virginia State Police Motor Carrier Safety Teams are saturating our primary and secondary roads statewide, and even the rest areas, as part of the Operation Safe Driver campaign,” said Captain Ronald B. Saunders, Virginia State Police Safety Officer. “There have been 2,127 commercial vehicle crashes on Virginia’s highways this year and we know that the most common cause has been driver error. That is why inspections are a critical factor in safeguarding our highways.”

All Virginia State Police Motor Carrier Safety troopers and supervisors will spend the week conducting Level-3 Inspections, which are known as “driver contact” checks. This type of inspection focuses on a commercial vehicle driver’s log books, hours of service and licensing. To date in 2008, Virginia State Police have conducted 2,665 Level-3 Inspections statewide. Last year, of the 3,159 Level-3 Inspections conducted, 596 commercial vehicle drivers were put out of service.

State police are also teaming up with the Virginia Trucking Association to host both enforcement and educational programs as part of Operation Safe Driver: On Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2008, an annual Vehicle Safety Check for commercial vehicle traffic will be set up in Fauquier County on Interstate 66. On Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008, a “Safety Break” will be conducted at the northbound Interstate 81 Rest Area in Augusta County. This event gives the troopers and Virginia Trucking Association the opportunity to talk with drivers one-on-one and promote safe driving practices.

“To the many commercial vehicle drivers who are just as committed as law enforcement towards making every ride and every highway a safe one, we say thank you and keep up the good work!” said Capt. Saunders. “For those who are not, there are no excuses for being unsafe. There are simply too many lives at stake on our highways.”