Police target road rage on local highways
By Tyler Miller The Record Herald
Published: Wednesday, November 21, 2007 6:34 AM CST
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The Washington Township Police Department is applying for an $8,000 grant to help target aggressive drivers on stretches like this corridor of Route 16 east of Waynesboro.

WAYNESBORO - Aggressive drivers in Washington Township beware: Routes 16 and 997 will become targeted enforcement areas in the coming months.

The township is applying for an $8,000 grant to beef up its police presence on Route 16 between Waynesboro and Rouzerville and on Route 997 from the borough line to Tomstown Road.

Based on accident statistics, those two stretches were identified by the Smooth Operator program from which the grant would be awarded.

Smooth Operator is a public safety initiative sponsored by state highway and motor vehicle departments in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Among the behaviors the program lists as aggressive driving are illegal U-turns, turning from the wrong lane, running a red light, tailgating, sudden slowing and stopping, careless passing, speeding and driving too fast for conditions.

Many accidents

Washington Township supervisors voted Monday to authorize Police Chief Barry Keller and Supervisor Chairman Carroll Sturm to sign the grant request.

In addition to the segments of Routes 16 and 997, the grant can be used to fund patrols on “feeder roads” of those two routes within a one-mile radius.

The grant would come at a time when township police are responding to an increased number of traffic accidents throughout the municipality.

Officers responded to 283 accidents between January and September of this year - an increase of 13 percent over last year.

At least 121 people were injured in those crashes, compared to 72 through last September.

More than 58 percent of all vehicle fatalities in Pennsylvania result from aggressive driving, according to a news release from the Smooth Operator program.

The decade-old initiative began in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Pennsylvania joined last year, and the program has quickly expanded in the commonwealth.

Currently, no municipal law enforcement agencies in Franklin County participate, but 44 are expected to jump on board next year in Franklin, Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry and York counties.