Campaign to bear down on aggressive drivers
If you tailgate, change lanes without warning, speed, run yellow lights or ignore traffic signs or signals, you're likely an aggressive driver and law enforcement patrols will be looking for you.
ITD is helping law enforcement agencies across Idaho expand aggressive driving enforcement patrols through April 26 as part of a statewide aggressive driving mobilization. During the aggressive driving enforcement campaign, Idaho law enforcement officers will increase enforcement of speed limits and traffic laws.
"Aggressive driving is a serious problem here in Idaho," said Mary Hunter, ITD's highway safety manager. "Close to half of all traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving. Running late, speeding, squeezing through yellow lights - all lead to traffic crashes."
Drivers must recognize what aggressive driving is, understand the risk and know they will be ticketed if they choose to drive aggressively, she explained.
Examples of aggressive driving include; speeding, not using turn signals, tailgating, cutting into lanes, not allowing others to merge, disregarding traffic signals and stop signs and other signs.
Aggressive driving was the leading cause of traffic deaths and injuries in Idaho during 2006. Of the 267 people killed in Idaho that year, 116 died as a consequence of aggressive driving.
Nationwide, speeding was a contributing factor in more than a third of all fatal crashes, with more than 13,000 lives lost, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
"Law enforcement officers will stop and ticket drivers caught speeding and driving aggressively - especially on our back roads and in rural areas where most of our speed-related crashes occur," Hunter said.
A crash on a road with a speed limit of 65 mph or greater is more than twice as likely to result in a fatality than a crash on a road with a speed limit of 45 mph or 50 mph, and nearly five times as likely as a crash on a road with a speed limit of 40 mph or below, according to NHTSA. About 14 percent of the country's speeding-related fatalities occur on interstate highways each year.
In 2006, 74 percent of fatal collisions in Idaho occurred on rural roads where higher speed limits are often in place.
"If people slow down, use their turn signals, pass where it's safe and obey traffic signs, we would save more than 100 lives and cut our crashes in half. For every person killed by aggressive driving, 40 are injured," Hunter said.
"The cost to Idaho is too high," she added. "ITD is glad to join with enforcement agencies around the state to reduce aggressive driving on highways and near construction zones.
"All drivers need to be on alert. The posted speed limit is the law. No warnings, no excuses - when it comes to aggressive driving, obey the sign or pay the fine."