Police Want To Crack Down On Aggressive Driving

Peggy Lee

(WJZ) BALTIMORE With summer underway, police around Maryland have expressed concern that high temperatures could make some drivers hot under the collar and fuel aggressive driving.

As Peggy Lee reports, police officers will be cracking down on aggressive drivers as part of a renewed effort to curb danger on Maryland roads.

Recent statistics showed Baltimore ranked 15th worst in the country for incidents of road rage--a trend law enforcement leaders want to change.

The average Baltimorean is said to spend 33 percent of their daily drive time stuck in traffic. Some of that time can be attributed to a 2005 survey that ranked Charm City as the 16th worst in the country for traffic congestion.

Police say frustrations on the road often boil over into aggressive driving and sometimes even road rage.

On Thursday, Maryland State Police and medical leaders joined to roll out their latest anti-aggressive driving campaign called 'Smooth Operator.'

Dr. Thomas Scalea from Shock Trauma addressed some of the problems aggressive driving has caused for all Marylanders.

"The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates the economic cost to society of speed-related crashes to be in excess of $40 billion per year. That's over $76,000 a minute," said Dr. Scalea.

The financial issues have caused major concern, but many Maryland families have also learned aggressive driving can create far more tragic tolls.

Last year, 651 Marylanders died in crashes.

"That's 100 to 150 more people per year that we lose in traffic crashes than we do in homicides in the state of Maryland, so the issue is a very serious one," said Neil Pederson with Maryland State Highway Administration.

In 2001, police said road rage led to the shooting death of Carl Snead in Baltimore City.

Last year an aggressive driver stabbed Patrick Walker to death in Bel Air. This April Lindsey Bender and Christian Luciano died in a crash after fighting with another motorist.

Police said they will be more vigilant in the past and be more willing to serve out tickets to anyone showing aggressive behavior on the road.

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