Best Practices and Lessons Learned in Commercial Vehicle Enforcement: A Perspective from the Nevada Department of Public Safety, Highway Patrol’s, Badge on Board Program

Guest blogger: Colonel Dennis Osborn, Nevada Highway Patrol

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have come together to focus on developing strategies and deliverables to enhance the Drive to Save Lives/Drive Toward Zero Campaign by incorporating large truck and bus enforcement. The IACP’s Divisions of State and Provincial Police (S&P) and State Association of Chiefs of Police (SACOP) have been working together to develop regional and highway-based enforcement efforts to reduce crashes, develop promising practices, and share lessons learned. Most recently, the IACP’s S&P and SACOP Divisions met to discuss the project and to determine the best ways to support law enforcement’s large truck and bus enforcement mission. Nevada Highway Patrol’s Badge On Board Program is a unique and effective commercial vehicle enforcement (CVE) program that can provide many agencies advice on how to bring awareness to large truck and bus safety. Colonel Dennis Osborn, Nevada Highway Patrol, has provided best practices and lessons learned below for all agencies.

In 2013 more than 4,000, or more than 10%of total, fatalities were the result of approximately 3,800 crashes that involved at least one large truck or bus. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Data Dashboard (March 2011) reports that in 2010, non-fatal collisions involving passenger vehicles were approximately 47% of all large truck crashes in Nevada that year. In 2008, fatal and non-fatal collisions involving passenger vehicles reached a high of 56 percent of all crashes in Nevada. The Nevada Department of Public Safety, Highway Patrol (NHP) recognizes the role passenger vehicles play in large truck crashes and have utilized a campaign to drive enforcement and public relations on the subject.

badgeonboardThe Badge On Board (BOB) program is designed to improve commercial vehicle safety by focusing on the driving behaviors of passenger vehicles around large commercial trucks. The Nevada Highway Patrol uses both enforcement and public education to improve safe driving behaviors, allowing motorists to share the road safely with commercial motor vehicles.

It is no secret that unsafe driving behaviors can lead to major crashes resulting in the loss of life. A BOB event conducts an enforcement campaign that uniquely targets moving violations of both passenger vehicles and commercial motor vehicles, which occur near large trucks. During a BOB event, a trooper is in the passenger seat of a large commercial truck, which is identified with a graphically designed wrap on the trailer portion containing Badge On Board messaging – transparency with the public is a key part of this program. Once the trooper observes a violation, information is provided to marked patrol units in the vicinity identifying the violation and the violator’s vehicle description. The trooper noting the violation while riding in the truck ensures the correct vehicle has been stopped, in a coordinated effort with patrol troopers. The BOB truck is typically operated by one of the Division’s Commercial Vehicle Safety Inspectors, who has a commercial vehicle driver’s license endorsement.

In 2014, through the assistance of a high priority grant worth just over $400,000, ten Badge On Board enforcement events were held in each of the two major urban areas of Nevada. As the majority of the crashes occur due to unsafe driving behaviors by the passenger car driver, enforcement was centered on the following violations: speeding, unsafe lane change, failure to signal lane change, failure to yield the right of way, following too closely, failure to use due care, and aggressive driving (a combination of two or more behaviors). Just this year, events in Reno resulted in 828 passenger vehicle contacts, 38 CMV contacts, and 980 violations. Over the last five years (2010-2015) Reno has seen 33 events, 2295 passenger vehicle contacts, 108 CMV contacts, and 4005 violations (1029 Speeding, 465 handheld device, 283 following too closely, 233 failure to signal and 228 unsafe lane change). Events in Las Vegas have resulted in 981 passenger vehicle contacts, 1129 violations, and from 2010-2015, there has been a total of 26 events, 4496 passenger vehicle contacts, 168 CMV contacts, and 6151 violations (1799 Speeding, 798 handheld device, 392 following too closely, 345 failure to signal and 299 unsafe lane change).

truckersWhen looking to adopt a similar program keep in mind enforcement events are geared towards increasing public communication and typically conducted in ten-hour shifts over a three-day period. Tractor units and trailers are leased through corporate partnerships and media campaigns are used to build public awareness about truck/passenger safety and the Badge On Board enforcement program. This year, 10 digital billboards have been placed in Las Vegas, 4 digital billboards have been placed in Reno, 6 rural billboards have been placed, 15- and 30-second radio spots played in Las Vegas, Reno, and rural stations, online YouTube video promotion, and Facebook promotion.

Thirty-three thousand lives lost on our roadways is unacceptable. Through high visibility campaigns, media relations, and transparency with public in programs like Badge On Board, that target unsafe driving behaviors, there is no doubt lives will be saved.

If you are interested in starting a similar program, have any questions about commercial motor vehicle enforcement, or want more information on what is going on in the state of Nevada please contact drive2savelives@theiacp.org.

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