Police cracking down on aggressive drivers

Drivers, think twice before flying pass a line of cars on the way into Warren from North Warren on Market Street Extension. Or running through that red light at Fifth Avenue and Market Street. Or tailgating on Jackson Run Road. Or passing in a no passing zone heading north on Route 62.

Local law enforcement will be on the roads as part of a state-wide aggressive driving enforcement program throughout the county from Monday, March 18 through April 28.

The program will target motorists exhibiting aggressive-driving behaviors such as running red lights, speeding and tailgating, Warren City Police Sgt. Kenneth Hinton said on Thursday.

The Pennsylvania Aggressive Driving Enforcement and Education Project is funded through PennDOT and will include more than 350 municipal police departments and the Pennsylvania State Police targeting more than 400 roadways across the commonwealth.

Signs to alert drivers will be posted along Route 6, Youngsville Borough Police Chief Todd Mineweaser said.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted drivers are likely to also become aggressive drivers, which can be especially dangerous in work zones where inattention can cause an accident.

Preliminary data from PennDOT shows 6,725 aggressive-driving crashes state-wide in 2012, an increase from 6,318 in 2011, and 183 fatalities in crashes involving aggressive driving, an increase from 168 in 2011.

The number of crashes involving fatigued or asleep drivers also increased in 2012 with 2,673 crashes and 29 fatalities, up from 2,460 crashes in 2011 with 19 deaths in those crashes.

Accidents involving distracted drivers also increased in 2012 to 14,617, up from 14,259 in 2011. The increase in distracted-driving may be attributed to increased rates of reporting crashed, however, they are likely under-reported as it relies on police observing the behavior or a motorist admitting to being distracted, according to PennDOT.

Local motorists are also reminded of the state’s anti-texting while driving law that prohibits any driver from using an interactive wireless communication device to send, read or write a text while the vehicle is in motion.

Law enforcement will also be on the look-out for motorists violating the state’s seat belt laws that requires drivers and passengers under the age of 18 to wear a seat belt. The secondary seat belt law requires drivers and front-seat passengers 18 years old or older to wear a seat belt.