Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement
Tackling Aggressive Driving in Kentucky
Recently, while returning to Frankfort, KY, from a business trip to the Northern Kentucky area, I found myself in one of the worst situations a motorist could face. Construction on Interstate 75 narrowed the lanes and eliminated both the right and left shoulders. Traffic was extremely heavy due to the oncoming weekend and a rainstorm had approached. In the blink of an eye, traffic slowed due to a downpour that would have stopped most vehicles. The only problem was that there was no where to stop. A concrete jersey barrier to my left and a large truck to my right in a long line of traffic prevented any lane change. The rain and the spray of water from the vehicles only complicated matters.
While most of the vehicles maintained appropriate intervals and speeds, suddenly, a Ford Explorer appeared 10 feet from my rear bumper. I knew that if the vehicle in front of me stopped suddenly, the Explorer would have been in my backseat. Eventually, I was able to merge into the right lane which allowed the Explorer to pull up to the rear of the vehicle which had been in front of me. As he negotiated his way around the traffic in the left lane, he cut in front of the truck, forcing it to brake. This quickly prompted a response from the air horn of the truck driver. Eventually, the driver zigzagged his way around several vehicles, traveling well above the posted speed limit, placing every motorist’s life in jeopardy. As I continued the trip, I began to think to myself, that driver is exactly the reason why the Department of Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement (KVE) is spearheading a campaign to combat aggressive driving, specifically aggressive driving around large trucks.
Realizing the extreme hardship to the victims and families of those injured or killed in collisions in Kentucky, action is needed to combat the epidemic of aggressive driving behaviors that are occurring on our highways. Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Executive Committee on Highway Safety identified aggressive driving as one of several emphasis areas that needed to be addressed in Kentucky’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP). Their goal is to lower the total number of overall deaths on Kentucky’s highways to no more than 700 by December 31, 2008. The SHSP defined aggressive driving as “operating a motor vehicle in a selfish, pushy, or impatient manner often unsafely, that affects other drivers. Aggressive driving includes actions such as speed to include too fast for conditions, improper lane changes, following too closely and disregarding traffic control devices.”
In order to tackle the problem of aggressive driving, KVE was granted funding from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) to participate in a pilot project that is specifically dedicated to the research, education and enforcement of aggressive driving of motor vehicles at or near the vicinity of large trucks. This pilot project, appropriately entitled Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks (TACT) is a cooperative effort between law enforcement, traffic safety officials and the trucking industry.
Pamela Rice, administrator of the Kentucky Division of FMCSA states, “It is the goal of FMCSA to reduce the number of commercial motor vehicle related crashes, fatalities and injuries on our nation's highways and we are very pleased that Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement has partnered with us to implement the TACT pilot project. Kentucky was one of four states in the country to step up and take on this challenge, which shows us their high level of dedication and commitment to highway safety. With this grant, KVE will use innovative strategies to affect driver behavior, both in passenger cars and commercial motor vehicles. By the end of the program, we expect to see driver awareness increased, safer driving practices, and a positive change in the risky driving behaviors of motorists. All of which will lead to fewer crashes, fatalities and injuries on the roadways.”
Enforcement will be conducted on two main interstate routes that were selected based on their volume of fatal and serious injury collisions involving large trucks. The corridors are I-75 from the Ohio River to the I-71/I-75 interchange and I-65 from I-264 (Watterson Expressway) South to the 110 mile marker. KVE is proud to be joined in their enforcement efforts by the Kentucky State Police, the Boone County Sheriff’s Department and the Louisville Metro Police Department.
The Kentucky Transportation Center, which is located at the College of Engineering on the University of Kentucky campus, will gather and analyze data regarding driver knowledge, attitudes and behaviors during the course of the project.
The Department of Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement applauds the participation of the Kentucky Motor Transport Association on their involvement in this project. This shows a true alliance between the trucking industry and law enforcement to improve the safety on today’s highways. Between all of our cooperating partners, perhaps we can make a difference on the Commonwealth’s highways, and possibly have motorists, such as the aggressive driver I encountered earlier, understand the dangers and change this type of behavior. Those who choose to ignore the dangers will not be ignored by law enforcement.
The Department of Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement’s mission is to encourage and promote a safe driving environment through education and safety awareness while enforcing State and Federal Laws and regulations, placing special emphasis on commercial vehicle. Its primary goal is to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities involving commercial motor vehicles. KVE believes the T.A.C.T. project puts us on the right track to achieve our mission and reach our goal. When we achieve this goal, everybody wins; both the motoring public and the trucking industry. Highways that are free of collisions ensure a pleasant and safe experience for the motoring public and allows for safe and timely routes for the trucking industry.
For further information regarding the TACT project or any information on the Department of Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement, please visit our website at http://www.kve.ky.gov/ or call 800-928-2402.