Police target aggressive driving on Routes 13, 281
By Raymond Drumsta
FREEVILLE — In what they describe as an enforcement “blitz,” state authorities, state troopers and local police will be targeting aggressive drivers on Route 13 this week and at various times this summer.
The campaign, which state and local officials unveiled Monday at a press conference at the Troop C Barracks on Route 13 in Freeville, will focus on common aggressive driving behaviors such as speeding, frequent and unsafe lane changes and tailgating on Route 13 from Triphammer Road to Route 281, and on Route 281 to exit 12 of Interstate 81.
Reducing aggressive driving and educating drivers about it is the goal of the campaign, the officials emphasized. They quoted the state police definition of the aggressive driver as “anyone who operates a motor vehicle in a selfish, bold or pushy manner — without regard for the rights or safety of the other users of our streets and highways.”
New York State Police Capt. Lawrence Jackmin said state police are committed to traffic safety and are encouraging drivers to obey traffic laws to reduce dangers to themselves and others.
“Clearly, those who don't comply with laws are putting others at risk,” said Jackmin, the Troop C, Zone III commander.
“We're out there to see that everyone's driving safely,” said Village of Dryden Police Chief Margaret Ryan.
Accident statistics released by officials Monday indicate that tailgating, or following too closely, was the leading cause of accidents along that route from October 2004 to October 2006. The number of accidents ranged from 14 to 34 per month in that period. The two-lane road is the most heavily traveled road in the area and has spots of limited visibility, no passing zones and driveways, said Jackmin. The peak accident times for the road are 8 a.m., noon and 5 p.m., he noted.
“Safe driving requires the attention of all drivers,” said Carl F. Ford, the regional director of the state Department of Transportation. He called aggressive driving both rude and dangerous, and encouraged drivers to pull over if they're being tailgated.
“If someone cuts you off, let them go,” Ford said.
Jackmin agreed, adding that if drivers witness road rage such as another driver flashing lights or gesturing wildly at them, they should call 911.
Other common aggressive driving behaviors include failing to signal, failing to yield the right of way, ignoring traffic signs and signals and driving while impaired, the officials said. The latest enforcement effort began Monday and will end Friday, and will be renewed throughout the summer until September, they added.