Police in Austin, TX, have
gone undercover to track aggressive drivers. The new approach
to hunting aggressive drivers is intended to curb growing safety
concerns on area roadways that police say are clogged with drivers
with short tempers, tight schedules and bad manners.
The undercover aggressive
driving prevention program puts plainclothes police officers in
unmarked cars to monitor traffic on the area's major highways.
The officers look for speeding, tailgating and unsafe lane changes,
then alert officers in marked cars to pull over the violators.
Since the program began
July 8, Austin police reportedly have issued more than 6,200 traffic
citations; more than half were for moving violations. Despite
the enforcement push, seven fatal wrecks have occurred in the
area this month, including two allegedly involving racing motorists.
Three fatalities this past weekend raised the death toll on Austin
roads to 51 this year.
The Texas Department of
Public Safety two months ago expanded its undercover traffic patrol
program around San Antonio to include New Braunfels and the major
roads around Austin, including U.S. 290 and U.S. 183. Like Austin's
program, the agency uses officers in unmarked vehicles to watch
for aggressive drivers and alert troopers in marked cars. Unlike
Austin, all of the state's unmarked cars are equipped with video
cameras and radar guns.
The DPS runs the undercover
operation twice a month and has jurisdiction over all the state's
highways, although it leaves areas in Central Austin, such as
I-35 and MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1), to local enforcement.