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Article Archive >> Featured Topics

Maryland Chiefs of Police Tell Aggressive Drivers to Cool Down

Maryland Chiefs of Police Tell Aggressive Drivers to Cool Down
Smooth Operator to Heat Up as Summer Travel Increases

July 3, 2008- As the summer months begin to heat up, the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association (MCPA) is proud to partner with the Maryland Highway Safety Office and state and local law enforcement agencies to promote enforcement of Maryland's aggressive driving laws. Police chiefs from across the state of Maryland have committed themselves and their agencies to reducing the needless deaths and injuries on the state's roadways due to aggressive driving by participating in the annual Smooth Operator campaign.
Aggressive driving behaviors, which include speeding, tailgating, running red lights and stop signs, improper passing and other dangerous driving maneuvers, are intensified during summer months, when increased congestion and the substantial Maryland heat begin to fry nerves. In early June, law enforcement from the state of Maryland, in conjunction with Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey and the District of Columbia, kicked off the Smooth Operator campaign with the first of four week-long waves of increased enforcement designed to curb aggressive driving behaviors.
The second wave of the Smooth Operator summer enforcement will take place from July 6-12. This year's campaign is placing an additional focus on younger drivers, a group that statistically has been identified as major violators of traffic laws related to aggressive driving. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for those between the ages of 15 to 20, and young drivers account for over half of all aggressive driving crashes in Maryland. Another specific focus of the 2008 campaign will be motorcyclists, as many of these drivers tend to exhibit aggressive behavior; in fact, 26 percent of motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes in 2006 had previous speeding convictions.
"Maryland's law enforcement agencies are prepared to carry out the mission of the Smooth Operator program," said President of the MCPA and Chief of the Westminster Police Department Jeffrey Spaulding. "Our officers will be observing driver behaviors on all state and local roads this summer, ready to put a stop to aggressive driving violations that they may see. Our officers are committed to keeping citizens safe and recognize that "Traffic Safety IS Public Safety."
Since the inception of Smooth Operator in 1997, more than two million citations have been issued to aggressive drivers. Citations during the 2007 summer enforcement effort totaled more than 162,000 in Maryland alone, and over 385,000 were issued throughout the mid-Atlantic region - more than six times the 62,000 issued in the campaign's first year. Besides keeping aggressive drivers off the road, the Smooth Operator campaign has also been successful in raising public awareness of aggressive driving behavior. In May 2000, public awareness of the campaign was 38 percent; however, as of September 2007, that figure has increased to 70 percent.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that aggressive driving crashes account for one-third of all injury crashes and two-thirds of all highway fatalities. The damages from these crashes cost the nation $40.4 billion each year, or $44,193 every minute.

The Maryland Chiefs of Police Association is an alliance of executive law enforcement officers from State, Local and Federal Agencies dedicated to leading and supporting the efforts of police chiefs and sworn law enforcement executives in advancing the science and art of police services.

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