By Aaron Ladage
An innovative pilot program in the state of Washington that put state troopers in the cabs of big trucks was a resounding success, according to state officials.
From July through September 2005, the Washington State Patrol - with help from a $600,000 grant from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration - had officers riding along with truckers as part of a statewide pilot program known as Ticket Aggressive Cars and Trucks, or TACT.
Administrative support was also given from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission and the Washington Trucking Association.
The program was started after a trooper noticed that a majority of fatal wrecks involving big trucks and four-wheelers are not the fault of the truck.
Riding along in the cabs of big rigs gave officers the opportunity to catch dangerous drivers in the act as they cut off or drove recklessly around trucks.
According to some recently released statistics, the program was a success. During the three-month program, local, county and state officers issued 3,520 citations, 1,478 warnings and spoke with nearly 5,000 motorists.
Tickets were issued for speeding, following too close, unsafe lane changes, failing to signal, left-lane violations, aggressive driving and reckless driving, according to the Washington State Patrol.
Keep an eye on upcoming issues of Land Line Magazine for an in-depth look at the pilot program, and its chances of going nationwide in the future.