As part of the event, Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell, and representatives from all of the above agencies spoke about this enforcement initiative, which will run from August 29 through August 31, 2006. The goal of the initiative is to reduce commercial vehicle crashes, especially during the holiday period, through cooperative enforcement and education efforts in these three southern New England States. Enforcement activity will take place on major commercial vehicle routes in all three states.
The Massachusetts State Police is committed to reducing commercial vehicle crashes. According to analysts at the University of Massachusetts Traffic Safety Research Program, in Massachusetts, between 2002 and 2004 (the latest period for which such statistics have been compiled), there was a 20% decrease in the total number of commercial vehicle crashes, a 26% decrease in the number of commercial vehicle crashes resulting in an injury or fatality and an 11% decrease in the number of commercial vehicle crashes involving hazardous materials. Additionally, in 2002 nearly 50% of commercial vehicle crashes resulted in an injury or fatality. This number decreased to 44% in 2004.
The focus of the enforcement effort is:
- to conduct commercial vehicle inspections
- to target commercial vehicles which have deliberately evaded inspections
- to saturate the entry and exit corridors in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut with visible traffic enforcement directed at high risk driving behavior by both commercial and non-commercial vehicle operators
- to educate commercial vehicle operators about the importance of sober driving and safety belt use
During the press event, commercial vehicle enforcement teams conducted safety inspections. Members of the media were also provided a demonstration of one of the most common dangers faced by the motoring public when sharing a roadway with commercial vehicles: blind spots. A static display of a commercial motor vehicle with several passenger cars, positioned as they commonly are on the highway, clearly showed them what commercial vehicle operators see, and more importantly, what they don't see while driving.
The Massachusetts State Police B.A.T. (Breath Alcohol Testing) Mobile was on hand to process any suspected drunk drivers. Educational material on the special regulations associated with alcohol use and commercial vehicle operation as well informative material on the importance of safety belt use was provided to commercial operators while inspections were taking place.