Results in from officer ride-along program in Washington

| 12/1/2005

An innovative pilot program in the state of Washington has reached 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 money.

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.