New Titusville vehicle targets aggressive drivers
BY ERICA K. DANIELS • FOR FLORIDA TODAY • February 10, 2009
A new patrol vehicle, funded by a Florida Department of Transportation highway safety grant, will help the Titusville Police Department keep its promise to crack down on aggressive driving.
According to Maj. Doug Massey of the department's special operations section, the city has experienced an unprecedented surge in traffic volume during the past five years.
Consequently, aggressive driving also has increased.
"When traffic increases, so do crashes," Massey said. "We want to prevent crashes and aggressive driving by finding ways to work smarter and better."
"This vehicle will allow us to blend in better and go into residential areas and address citizens' complaints about speeders," he said.
The Chevrolet Impala will be slick-topped and unmarked. It will be equipped with a digital video camera, dual antenna radar system, a cage for transporting prisoners and an interior police light.
Massey says the new vehicle will not be assigned to any one officer, but will be available for use by all officers.
Additionally, the new vehicle will be involved in a minimum of two weekly enforcement events, in which officers will be targeting specific aggressive driving behaviors on certain days of the week.
Aggressive driving includes speeding, tailgating, running red lights and fleeing from officers.
"Anything they get that helps us, without us having to pay for it, is good," Titusville resident Mary Purdy said, referring to the new vehicle.
Beth Fernandes of Titusville also supports having the new vehicle.
"I'm a speeder, but the things that scare me are drunk-driving, cell phone talkers and tailgaters," Fernandes said. "So, I'm glad they're getting something to help crack down on that sort of thing, too."
A 2 percent increase in speeding citations also is expected after the new vehicle is placed in use.
"If the officer is doing his job, citations will naturally increase," Massey said.
Most importantly, he added, "Our goal is to reduce crashes. We respond to an average of 80 to 100 crashes a month. The more we enforce the laws, the slower people drive, and crashes are reduced."
Purchase of the vehicle was unanimously approved by the Titusville City Council.
Contact Daniels at 242-3623 or [replacer_a].