Area police cracking down on aggressive driving

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — An annual crackdown on aggressive driving begins this week and continues through mid-September.

More than a dozen area agencies will focus on drivers who speed, tailgate, blow through red lights and stop signs and show general disregard for other drivers.

“Where folks choose not to drive respectfully, the men and women you see represented here will take action,” said Prince George’s County Police Deputy Chief Hank Stawinski, joined by dozens of officers pledging to focus on the aggressive driving.

Officers representing law enforcement agencies from Maryland and D.C. were part of the introduction at National Harbor Tuesday.

“They will ticket, there will be fines and there will be points,” Stawinski says.

The initiative Smooth Operator began in 1997 as a way to cut down on deadly accidents.

Citing a AAA safety culture study, police say as many as 56 percent of fatal crashes involved unsafe driving behaviors associated with aggressive driving.

“We all know how dangerous this behavior can be, and yet for some reason, we’re willing to put one another at risk,” says D.C. Police Assistant Chief Lamar Greene.

The Smooth Operator website offers tips to help people avoid being an aggressive driver:

  • Allow more travel time to get to your destination — it can reduce stress.
  • Come to a full stop at red lights and stop signs. Never run yellow lights.
  • Let other drivers merge with you.
  • Obey posted speed limits.
  • Don’t follow other drivers too closely.
  • Resist the temptation to teach other drivers “a lesson.”
  • Concentrate on driving — not on other distractions such as the stereo or other passengers.
  • Remember that you can’t control traffic — but you can control yourself, your driving and your emotions.

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