Lt. Colonel Ken Howes
Florida Highway Patrol
For Release February 24, 2004:
TALLAHASSEE- Colonel Chris Knight, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol, today announced plans for a statewide aggressive driving enforcement operation, scheduled for February 26-27, 2004. The campaign, dubbed Operation Safe Ride, is being launched due to a growing concern over aggressive drivers and incidents of road rage throughout Florida. Operation Safe Ride will be conducted in all ten FHP field troops throughout the state. A similar campaign began locally in Broward County in early January.
"We have received numerous letters and emails from citizens and visitors complaining about aggressive drivers in every part of Florida, particularly in urban areas," said Colonel Knight. "As a result of the increasing numbers of these types of complaints, we have asked our ten Troop Commanders throughout the state to dedicate every resource available to identify and cite, or in some cases, arrest individuals who are placing other motorists at risk as a result of their aggressive driving behavior," Knight added.
All available FHP personnel will participate in Operation Safe Ride, including troopers and supervisors normally assigned to non-patrol functions. Troopers will track motorists using radar, Vascar, video cameras in some areas, motorcycles, and unmarked patrol vehicles. Troopers piloting seven FHP aircraft will be used during daylight hours to spot aggressive drivers from the air and then direct troopers on the ground to pull them over and initiate appropriate enforcement action. During the two-day enforcement detail, troopers will focus their enforcement efforts on every Interstate, Florida's Turnpike, and other major state roads in Florida where aggressive driving is prevalent.
A motorist must commit at least two moving violations in the presence of a trooper to be cited for driving aggressively. During the campaign, troopers will be looking for motorists who are speeding, tailgating, driving or passing on the shoulder, making unsafe lane changes, or displaying other aggressive driving behavior or habits. When a trooper stops someone for aggressive driving, the violator will receive a traffic citation for the offenses committed, and the trooper will check an "aggressive driving" box on the citation. Although no additional fines or driver license points are assessed for aggressive driving, the Patrol has found that traffic court judges, upon noticing that the trooper has checked the aggressive driving box on the citation, tend to impose higher fines or require that defendants take an eight-hour aggressive driving course. Some drivers may be charged with reckless driving and physically arrested by troopers if their driving behavior warrants such action.
The Patrol is planning to deploy Operation Safe Ride throughout the rest of the year with a different selective enforcement theme scheduled each time, depending on specific enforcement needs.