WEST VIRGINIA – (WVNS) – Drivers may notice a heavy police presence on area highways this week as the annual Operation Safe Driver Week gets underway.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance hosts the national event with the West Virginia Public Service Commission deploying extra units for the occasion along I-64 and I-77 between July 11th through the 17th.

The West Virginia PSC said traffic fatalities were up 24% in 2020 despite having less people on the roadways during the pandemic. Last year, West Virginia officers participating in Operation Safe Driver Week saw over 400 citations issued with more than half issued for speeding.

“Speeding has been a factor in more than a quarter of crash deaths in the United States since 2008 and is the most frequent driver-related crash factor for drivers of commercial motor vehicles and passenger vehicles,” said Charlotte Lane, Chairman, West Virginia Public Service Commission.

The goal of this national event is to crack down on reckless and unsafe driving, speeding, distracted driving, and other unsafe driving practices for both commercial and regular license holders.