Aggressive Driving Enforcement
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The Colorado State Patrol (CSP) uses an extensive media campaign along with enforcement in their aggressive driving program known as ADAPT (Aggressive Drivers are Public Threats). Unmarked patrol vehicles, motorcycles and aircraft are used for enforcement. Two Seconds for Safety is the leading component of the media campaign.

The campaign urges motorists to use the two-finger "peace" or "victory" sign with several different messages: "Thank you," for a courteous act of kindness, or "I’m sorry" or "Excuse me," for an inadvertent driving behavior that another motorist may view as aggressive. The two-finger "peace" or "victory sign" can also mean, always keep a two-second interval between you and the vehicle in front of you.

CSP has also produced several television Public Service Announcements (PSAs) with the use of volunteer drivers, donated vehicles, and a television helicopter. These PSAs have received three national awards of excellence from the safety and film industries. Hollywood’s Hal Needham, director of the hit movie, Smokey and The Bandit, and Bobby Orr, internationally recognized stunt car driver and their staffs, offered their services at no cost. These PSAs depict aggressive driving behavior sequences and give a message about safe driving. The Colonel of CSP, Lonnie Westphal, made these videos available to all law enforcement agencies. The PSAs can easily be adapted by adding a personalized logo, a shoulder patch or a localized message. Note: copies of these PSAs are available by contacting the CSP Public Affairs Division.

The CSP is using a computer at their communications center to handle motorists’ phone calls. A previous media campaign used *DUI (star, 384) to report impaired drivers. With the assistance of the computer system, another cell phone number, *CSP (star, 277) was added, to allow motorists to report aggressive drivers. The callers are also allowed to vent their frustrations regarding other motorists. When they receive a call at the communications center, the dispatcher determines if the call is an urgent circumstance or if it is someone venting their frustrations. If it is an emergency, the dispatcher handles the call and sends the assistance that is required. All other phone calls are forwarded to the computer system that logs the complaint. The computer system can track the license plate numbers of the vehicles with the aggressive driving behavior.

Once the computer data base logs three complaints on the same license plate number, a letter is sent to the registered owner, advising that person of the complaint. The CSP would eventually like to send troopers to the homes of the registered owners of the vehicles and issue citations based upon the complaints.

Each year, the CSP publishes a two-page annual report that lists the numbers of crashes, fatalities, DUI arrests, and the safety messages used in their many different media campaigns. The annual report is in a format that can folded and mailed, or given to motorists during a traffic stop.

Special Features

CSP has made excellent use of media involvement, PSAs, newspaper stories, pamphlets, and brochures to educate the public about aggressive driving. In addition, using a computer to handle the extra phone calls and track the license plate numbers has been a cooperative agreement with CSP and the developer of the computer.

Project Outcome

In 1997, there was a 1.3 percent decrease in injury and fatal crashes, but the actual number of fatalities went up from 612 to 624 from 1996. In 1997, CSP investigated 9,303 non-speed, aggressive driving behavior crashes and 6,989 excessive speed crashes. In 1998, CSP investigated 10,137 non-speed aggressive driving behavior crashes and 5,415 excessive speed crashes. 9

Colorado State Patrol’s driver information and education sheet that is given or mailed to drivers after a traffic stop.

Legal Considerations

The future plan of mailing citations after receiving three phone complaints will require enabling legislation. As with other photo enforcement or computer generated citations, legislation will need to determine if the citation is civil or criminal.

More Information

Captain Steve Smee
Colorado State Patrol
700 Kipling Street
Denver, CO 80215
(303) 239-4532