Speeding IS Aggressive Driving and it STOPS HERE.

Jun 07, 2010, 05:00 ET from Smooth Operator Campaign

DC, MD and VA Law Enforcement Crack Down on Aggressive Driving; Campaign Kick-Off Highlights Dangers of Driving Aggressively in the Summer Months

BALTIMORE, June 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With summer being the season of aggressive driving, more than 90 state and local law enforcement agencies from Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia are banding together to keep residents safe.  The Smooth Operator campaign mobilizes its first wave of enforcement June 6June 12, and police across the region will be out in force to combat aggressive driving.  Speeding has consistently been estimated to be a main factor in aggressive driving behavior. With children out of school, construction activities ramping up, and the influx of tourists, the theme of this year's Smooth Operator campaign will be "Speeding IS aggressive driving and it STOPS HERE."

"Drivers need to understand that keeping their temper in check and foot off the gas is essential to protecting themselves as well as other motorists," said Sheriff Mike Evans, President of the Maryland Sheriff's Association.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that aggressive driving behaviors – speeding, tailgating, running red lights and stop signs, improper passing and other dangerous driving maneuvers – has cost billions of dollars and may be responsible for one-third of injury crashes and two-thirds of highway fatalities.  The probability of death and debilitating injury increases with impacts at higher speeds – doubling for every 10 mph over 50 mph that a vehicle travels.

"Aggressive driving, especially speeding is a real threat to all who share the roadways and requires a pan-regional effort," noted Colonel George F. Johnson, IV, President of the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association.  "Close collaboration and cooperation across jurisdictions is what makes Smooth Operator so successful in both enforcement and education."

Citations during four enforcement waves in 2009 totaled more than 408,577 – more than six and a half times the 62,000 issued in the initial year of 1997. Nearly 3.2 million citations and warnings have been issued since the beginning of the Smooth Operator program.

The 2009 Smooth Operator campaign was also successful in raising the awareness of aggressive driving behavior.  Pre- and post-campaign public opinion surveys of Washington area drivers showed that the recognition of the Smooth Operator message increased 18 percentage points to 72 percent.

The 2010 Smooth Operator campaign enforcement waves are scheduled on the following dates:

  • June 6  – 12
  • July 4 – 10
  • August 1 – 7
  • September 5 – 18

About Smooth Operatorwww.smoothoperatorprogram.com

Sixteen Washington area law enforcement agencies launched Smooth Operator in 1997, targeting motorists who drove aggressively. To enhance the annual law enforcement efforts, public awareness campaigns and research began in 2000 and formed a cooperative interstate effort that is unique among the law enforcement groups and organizations involved. For more information, visit www.smoothoperatorprogram.com

SOURCE Smooth Operator Campaign