The majority of collisions in California that end in death or injury begin with a speeding or aggressive driver. To address this issue, the California Highway Patrol is embarking on a yearlong lifesaving endeavor to reduce the frequency of these collisions throughout the state.
To assist the CHP in this traffic safety effort, the department has received a federally funded grant titled, “Reduce Aggressive Driving Incidents and Tactically Enforce Speed (RADIATES).” The CHP’s anti-speed campaign will continue through Sept. 30, 2013.
“Despite our strenuous educational efforts, excessive speed, coupled with aggressive driving, consistently cause a high percentage of fatal and injury collisions,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “These drivers are not only a danger to themselves, but to every single driver whose path they cross.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines aggressive driving as “when individuals commit a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.”
Aggressive drivers often commit multiple moving violations in addition to speeding, such as following too closely, passing without sufficient clearance, improper lane change, driving on the wrong side of the road, improper turning movements and driving in violation of cellphone and texting laws.
Statistical data from the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System for 2010 (the most recent year for which final figures are available) indicates there were more than 132,000 collisions in which speed was the primary cause, resulting in the deaths of 435 people and injury to nearly 72,000 others.
“Speed limits are not merely a suggestion, they exist for the public’s safety,” Farrow added. “If motorists will drive within the speed limit, fewer injuries will occur on the road and more importantly, lives will be saved.”
The primary goal of the RADIATES grant is to reduce the number of fatal and injury traffic collisions attributed to speed and the number of people killed and injured in those collisions by at least 5 percent. To achieve this, the CHP will deploy enhanced enforcement and public awareness campaigns statewide. Speeding motorists may also be receiving an additional “wake up call” with an increase in the use of radar trailer deployments throughout the state. The grant also seeks to reduce the number of fatal and injury collisions caused by improper turning and driving on the wrong side of the road, as well as the number of people killed and injured in those collisions, by at least 5 percent.
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.