Trends: Cops Crack Down on Aggressive Driving
Law enforcement agencies across the country are using extra funding and tough new laws to catch and fine aggressive drivers. Nashville Metro Police instituted in November an aggressive driving unit. Officers drive unmarked cars and will switch to different cars so they do not become easily identifiable to motorists. In New Jersey, the state attorney general announced recently that the state police are again resorting to unmarked vehicles to crack down on aggressive driving. The state Department of Transportation gave $2.4 million to convert 14 state police vehicles into unmarked cars and to add trooper patrols on accident-prone state roadways.Aggressive driving is a catchall term for illegal or dangerous maneuvers, such as riding shoulders, hogging left lanes, tailgating, speeding and weaving. North Carolina has a new law targeting aggressive drivers. It said an aggressive driver "drives carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others."Authorities enforce the law by first catching the aggressive driver speeding. Second, police must also determine that the driver broke at least two more rules while speeding. Those offenses are running through a red light or stop sign, passing illegally, following too closely or failing to yield the right of way.Lawmakers in that state consider aggressive driving a major offense. Along with criminal penalties, violators can get five points added to their driver´s licenses.In South Florida highway patrol officers track speeders and aggressive drivers from aircraft with the use of stopwatches as part of an enforcement program aimed at curbing a growing aggressive-driving problem in Broward and Palm Beach counties.The program, called Operation RADAR, for Removing Aggressive Drivers and Road Rage, was launched in early January. Through October, troopers have cited 405 motorists in Broward for driving aggressively, according to agency records.