This report presents results from an 18-month project in Washington State that attempted to reduce specific unsafe driving behaviors around large commercial vehicles on specific segments of interstate highways.
Selective Traffic Enforcement programs (sTEPS) have been used effectively for many years to change motorists’ traffic behaviors in a very short period of time. The Click It or Ticket (CIOT) model is a well known sTEP and is associated with an impressive increase in safety belt use across the nation in the past few years (Solomon et al, 2002). A sTEP model typically relies heavily on enforcement of a State’s traffic safety laws (safety belts in CIOT) supported by intensive paid publicity that focuses on enforcement. The model includes: 1) data collection before, during and after media and enforcement phases; 2) earned and paid publicity announcing vigorous enforcement; 3) highly visible enforcement each day of the two week enforcement period; and 4) a media event announcing program results and thanking all the participants in the community.
Share the Road Safely/Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks (TACT) is a pilot demonstration program using education, enforcement, media, and evaluation to reduce fatalities and injuries resulting from cutting off trucks, tailgating trucks, and speeding around trucks. It is an 18-month program applying the CIOT model to unsafe driving behaviors around large commercial vehicles. In the Consolidated Omnibus Appropriations Act of FY 2004 (P.L. 108-401), Congress directed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to work with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to “ educate the motoring public on how to share the road safely with commercial motor vehicles.” The appropriation directed NHTSA and FMCSA to apply lessons learned from NHTSA’s experience in high visibility enforcement campaigns such as Click It or Ticket to FMCSA’s Share the Road Safely outreach program to educate drivers to drive safety around large trucks.
Washington State was selected as the site for a pilot project because of its success in implementing other highway safety enforcement projects such as the Washington State Patrol’s (WSP) Step Up and R.I.D.E. program in Seattle. The local project (also familiarly called the “Trooper in the Truck”) put a trooper in a commercial vehicle who observed unsafe driving behaviors and radioed other troopers who then stopped and ticketed the driver. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) had the lead for the project and named it TACT, Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks.