Operation Safe Driver enforcement blitz: CVSA set dates | Autonomous vehicle bill stopped

Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, April 10, 2024:

CVSA announces dates for Operation Safe Driver blitz

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, the body that helps annually update out-of-service criteria, the agenda at Roadcheck and more, has announced July 7-13 for this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week, which it calls "a safe-driving enforcement and outreach initiative aimed at improving driving behaviors through educational and traffic-enforcement strategies and driver interactions with law enforcement."

During Operation Safe Driver Week, law enforcement in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. will look out for commercial motor vehicle drivers and passenger vehicle drivers "engaging in unsafe driving behaviors, such as speeding, distracted driving, following too closely, drunk or drugged driving, etc," the group said.

"Drivers engaging in such behaviors will be pulled over by law enforcement and may be issued a warning or citation," it warned. 

This year's blitz will target reckless, careless or dangerous driving. "Any person who drives a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is driving recklessly," CVSA said. "Careless/dangerous driving is defined as operating a vehicle without due care and attention or reasonable consideration for other motorists or people on the road." 

CVSA cited the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as saying communication and outreach help safety programs, but that alone is "unlikely to have an effect unless they are tied to vigorous enforcement."

CVSA believes the enforcement effort can fill that role, the group noted. "Operation Safe Driver Week aims to improve the safety of our roadways through proactive driver safety outreach and education, and by addressing unsafe driving behaviors through responsive traffic enforcement when drivers are identified engaging in dangerous driving behaviors on our roadways." 

[Related: Roadcheck-ready resources: Live 'Ask Me Anything'-style rap with CVSA inspections specialist coming May 1]

Kentucky guv vetoes autonomous vehicle bill

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear on April 5 vetoed a bill that would have cleared a regulatory path for fully-autonomous, driverless vehicles to operate in the state.

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HB 7 was passed by the state’s House and Senate before being shot down by the governor.

The bill would have allowed certain fully autonomous vehicles to operate without a human driver, as long as the vehicle met certain conditions.

Had the bill become law, vehicles with a declared gross weight and any towed unit over 62,000 pounds, the bill would have required, through July 31, 2026, “a human driver, with the appropriate credentials to operate the vehicle, present in the vehicle to monitor the performance of the vehicle and intervene if necessary.”

[Related: California guv vetoes driverless-truck-ban legislation]

Two ‘Best Fleets to Drive For’ recognized

K&J Trucking, a 107-driver fleet based out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Challenger Motor Freight, a fleet of more than 1,000 drivers out of Cambridge, Ontario, have been named the overall winners in the 2024 Best Fleets to Drive For contest by CarriersEdge.

Now in its 16th year, the Best Fleets to Drive For is an annual survey and contest that identifies the for-hire carriers providing the best workplace experience for their company drivers and independent contractors.

K&J Trucking won in the small carrier category. It’s the first time K&J Trucking has received a Best Overall Fleet award. This year also marks the third time K&J Trucking received recognition as a Top 20 Best Fleet to Drive For. This award is sponsored by Netradyne.

Challenger Motor Freight won the award in the large fleet category. Challenger has been named a Top 20 Best Fleet to Drive For five consecutive times, and this is the second time the company has received a Best Overall Fleet award. The award is sponsored by TruckRight.

In addition to the Best Overall Fleet awards, CarriersEdge also presented a new award -- The Stratosphere Award -- that recognizes the top-scoring fleet in the Best Fleets Hall of Fame. This year’s inaugural award, sponsored by EpicVue, was given to Garner Trucking, Inc., of Findlay, Ohio. To be eligible for the Hall of Fame, fleets must be named as a Best Fleet for 10 consecutive years, or seven years with at least one overall winner award.

According to CarriersEdge CEO Jane Jazrawy, Garner Trucking continues to elevate its driver programs and received the highest scores in this year’s evaluation of its Best Fleets Hall of Fame members. 

To be considered for the Best Fleets program, for-hire carriers operating 10 or more tractor-trailers must be nominated by a company driver or independent contractor working with them. Nominated fleets are then evaluated in areas such as driver compensation, pension and benefits, professional development, driver and community support, and safety record.

The highest-scoring fleets are identified as the Top 20 Best Fleets to Drive For and then grouped according to size. The highest-scoring fleet in each size category is named an overall winner. 

The Best Fleets to Drive For contest accepts nominations from Labor Day to Halloween each year and reveals its Top 20 Best Fleets to Drive For winners each January. The highest-scoring fleet in each size category and top-scoring Hall of Fame member is named an overall winner during the Best Fleets to Drive For Education & Awards Conference. 

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