An innovative pilot program in the state of
its conclusion, and recently released numbers show it was a resounding success,
according to officials there.
Since July, the Washington State Patrol – with help from a $600,000
grant from the Federal
Motor Carrier Safety Administration – has had officers riding along in the cabs
of big trucks 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 accidents involving commercial vehicles were
caused by four-wheelers. Riding in cabs of big rigs gave officers the
opportunity to catch dangerous drivers in the act as they cut off or drove
recklessly around trucks.
A smaller version of the program called Step
Up and Ride was expanded into the larger project after the state received the grant
The ride-along portion of the program
concluded on Oct. 3, at which point it was re-evaluated. And, according to some
recently released statistics, it’s been 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 WSP.
Keep an eye on the Feb. 2006 issue of Land Line Magazine for an in-depth look at
the pilot program, and its chances of going nationwide in the future.