This week the California Highway Patrol is stepping up enforcement of safe driving laws for commercial vehicles. The CHP is partnering with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) for Operation Safe Driver week.

There has been a marked decline in the number of serious commercial vehicle collisions, and any type of vehicle collisions involving commercial vehicle operators, but both the CHP and the CVSA believe more can be done.

According to the CHP there was a 40 percent decrease in the number of collisions involving a commercial vehicle that resulted in the death of a motorist between 2006 and 2010. This week they will be conducting increased patrols on every state road and highway to keep those numbers down and maintain that trend. And their focus will not just be on commercial drivers themselves, but also other drivers sharing the road with them.

Often vehicle collisions with commercial vehicles occur because other drivers are unaware of the limitations of the these bigger, heftier vehicles. Other drivers might follow too closely, attempt to pass in a commercial driver’s blindspot or try to stop suddenly when they are in front of a large commercial vehicle. For the most part these types of situations can be avoided by educating those who do not drive commercial vehicles about the limitations they face and best practice, safe driving, techniques. Defensive driving techniques are excellent tools for avoiding collisions with all types of vehicles, but not everyone demonstrates they have mastered those skills.

This week, in addition to reminding commercial drivers about safe driving, CHP officers will also be patrolling the streets in search of those drivers they identify as needing a refresher course in safe driving. This effort is aimed at everyone who shares the road in order to make the roads safer for everyone. It’s not just commercial drivers who cause problems when it comes to driver safety. The responsibility is shared by all, and the CHP will be doing their best to single out the ones who might have forgotten that.