Aggressive Driving Enforcement
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MASSACHUSETTS STATE POLICE

The Massachusetts State Police 3D Program, (Dangerous Drunk and Drugged Driving) uses an aggressive driving team of troopers who are assigned to the team for one year. The team uses marked and unmarked patrol vehicles, and also unmarked or non-traditional vehicles, typically seized from drug or criminal interdiction cases. They equip the vehicles with in-car video cameras, radar units, and emergency lights. A uniformed officer assigned to the unmarked vehicle works in conjunction with two or more marked patrol vehicles.

The unmarked or non-traditional patrol vehicles work in areas that have been identified as aggressive driving problem areas, such as areas of high incidences of crashes, congestion or fatalities. When they observe a violation, the officer in the unmarked or non-traditional vehicle positions the patrol vehicle so that the driving behavior can be video taped. The officer gives the marked patrol vehicles their location. The unmarked vehicle maintains contact with the violator until the marked unit is behind the violator and a stop is initiated. Since the officer in the unmarked vehicle is in uniform, if the driving behavior is egregious, the officer will initiate the traffic stop to eliminate the hazardous driving behavior. By maintaining this process, Massachusetts State Police has not had any pursuits.

Unmarked patrol units are equipped with rear deck lights so when following an aggressive driver and trying to initiate a traffic stop, the deck lights are activated. The motorist behind the patrol vehicle will have ample time to slow and avoid a collision.

Troopers work 4-5 hour shifts on the road. At the end of their shift, they report to the Troop Headquarters. The trooper runs a computer check on the driver history for the drivers that they cited that day. If the driver’s license history showed more than three aggressive driving behaviors, within the last three years, they refer the driver to the Registry of Motor Vehicles and file a report to "Request for Immediate Threat of Suspension or Revocation" hearing. If the Registry of Motor Vehicle suspends or revokes a drivers license, they require the driver to attend either remedial driver training or anger management. 5

Special Features

The "Request for Immediate Threat of Suspension or Revocation" hearing uses laws that are already in place to deal with the aggressive driver. In addition, the officer checks to see if there is a pattern of aggressive driving and recommends compulsory training to change the driver’s behavior.

Handouts are given to all drivers about the dangers of aggressive driving.

Massachusetts State Police’s handout that is given to drivers after a traffic stop by the aggressive driving enforcement team.

The use of in-car video cameras helps the officer establish evidence for court. The Massachusetts State Police has found that the use of the videotapes has also decreased court time for their troopers. Boxing-in the violator until a marked police vehicle can make the traffic stop has allowed the Massachusetts State Police to maintain control of the stop. The concern of the public of stopping for an unmarked police vehicle is eliminated because a marked law enforcement vehicle makes the traffic stop unless the driving behavior is especially egregious. This technique also allows for positive identification of the violator and prevents chases from occurring from the use of unmarked patrol vehicles.

Project Outcome

The Massachusetts State Police have held more than 300 "Request for Immediate Threat of Suspension or Revocation" hearings. The arresting officers have not lost one ruling. Every case referred to the Registry of Motor Vehicles has resulted in the driver’s license being suspended or revoked.

Legal Considerations

By using the "Immediate Threat Report Form," the Massachusetts State Police use a law that is already in place, but one that has been underutilized. And, since not one ruling has gone against the charging law enforcement officer, this is a good indicator that their method of addressing the repeat aggressive driver is effective.

More Information

Major Stephen Leary
Troop C Commander
Massachusetts State Police
612 Main St., Route 122A
Holden, MA 01520
(508) 829-8300