THE PROGRAMS

In the Spring of the year 2000, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration selected two proposals for funding from a large number of offers to develop and conduct programs intended to reduce the incidence of aggressive driving. The selected proposals were submitted by the Marion County Traffic Safety Partnership (a consortium of agencies in the vicinity of Indianapolis, Indiana), and The Tucson, Arizona, Police Department. The programs each received grants of $200,000 from NHTSA to support the special enforcement and public information and education (PI&E) components. Program managers were required, as conditions of the grant, to 1) focus their enforcement efforts on moving violations that are associated with aggressive driving in four carefully-selected zones within their communities; 2) develop and implement PI&E campaigns to publicize the special enforcement efforts; and, 3) provide the data and other information necessary to prepare this evaluation. Although the programs shared additional features, program managers were encouraged to consider innovative approaches to both special enforcement and publicity. The two programs are summarized in the following pages.

image - Marion County Traffic Partnership logo

THE MARION COUNTY TRAFFIC SAFETY PARTNERSHIP
The City of Indianapolis is the capital of Indiana, the largest city in the state, and the twelfth largest city in the United States of America. The City of Indianapolis expanded its borders in 1970 to encompass all 402 square miles of Marion County, with the exception of several small communities that chose to remain independent. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 857,000 people lived in Marion County in the year 2001, representing a population increase of 7.5 percent since 1990. Census data show that the population is composed of 70 percent White, 24 percent African American, 4 percent Hispanic, and one percent each of residents who reported Asian and Native American ancestry. Marion County’s median household income in 2001 was $45,548 and the median home price was $116,900.

The Marion County Traffic Safety Partnership was formed in 1994 to identify traffic safety problems and implement mitigating programs for the entire county. The organization has a small, full-time staff, including a motivated and capable professional director, and an advisory board composed of concerned citizens, health care professionals, city council members, insurance managers, the county prosecutor, and representatives from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, the Indianapolis Police Department, and the departments of the several small communities within Marion County that are surrounded by the City of Indianapolis. The Marion County Traffic Safety Partnership had conducted large-scale impaired driver and safety restraint awareness programs, among other activities, prior to being selected by NHTSA to develop and implement an aggressive driving program.

image - "road team - rub out afggressive driving" logo
RUB OUT AGGRESSIVE DRIVING: THE R.O.A.D. TEAM

The Marion County Traffic Safety Partnership selected “Rub Out Aggressive Driving” as the name for their program and referred to the participating officers in publicity materials as the “ROAD Team.” As required by their agreement with NHTSA, the Marion County aggressive driving program comprised both special enforcement and public information and education.

ENFORCEMENT
The special enforcement component of the program involved deployment of marked and unmarked police vehicles in areas characterized by the disproportionate incidence of aggressive driving. A review of crash records led to the identification of five roadway segments in Indianapolis that would become the special enforcement zones during the six-month program period.5 The special enforcement effort focused on drivers who exhibited two or more of the moving violations that frequently are associated with aggressive driving, including speeding, failure to obey traffic controls/devices, failure to yield, improper or unsafe lane changes, and following too closely. Squads of five officers and a supervisor were assembled from the participating agencies and deployed during morning and evening drive times on 61 days during the six month program period.

The special enforcement effort of the Rub Out Aggressive Driving program was conducted as overtime activity by a total of 42 officers from six law enforcement agencies, which included the police departments of Indianapolis, Cumberland, Lawrence, and Beech Grove, the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, and the Indiana State Police. The participating officers worked an average of 33 overtime hours each during the six-month period, with individual participation ranging from four to 76 hours. The Marion County Traffic Safety Partnership’s program devoted a total of 1,400 officer-hours to the special patrols.

PUBLIC INFORMATION AND EDUCATION (PI&E)
The Marion County aggressive driving program implemented an extensive Public Information and Education (PI&E) component, which included a website, brochures, 20 billboards announcing the program, and frequent paid advertising on radio and television stations. The radio and television “spots” that were developed for the program were extremely high quality and featured racing celebrities familiar to residents of the Indianapolis area. Program managers spent half of their total budget on publicity, but purchasing air time encouraged station managers to donate considerable public service time to the Marion County program, resulting in extensive publicity by broadcast media. In particular, the program paid a local television station to broadcast a 30-second PI&E message on 50 occasions during the first five months of the program period, but records show that the message was broadcast a total of 125 times. Similarly, the purchase of two hundred radio spots resulted in additional free air time, and the aggressive driving program served as a topic of discussion on drive-time radio “talk shows.”
The Marion County Traffic Safety Partnership issued press releases regularly to remind the public of the aggressive driving program by announcing the dates and locations of the special enforcement patrols. Several articles concerning the program were published in The Indianapolis Star during the study period. The articles were supportive of the program and usually included tallies of the citations issued. News coverage also stimulated the publication of letters to the editor, mostly opposed to the special enforcement effort.

The Marion County aggressive driving program received additional, yet unfortunate, publicity when a fatal crash occurred during a high speed pursuit by an officer assigned to the aggressive driving patrol. The duration of the pursuit was fewer than 30 seconds, but during that brief time the fleeing driver exited highway I-90 into downtown Indianapolis rush hour traffic, then ran a red light, crashing broadside into another vehicle; the driver of that vehicle died six days later. The incident generated controversy and received extensive news coverage because the officer, from a neighboring community, crossed the jurisdictional boundary into Indianapolis during the pursuit. Although he announced that the motorist was evading the enforcement stop, the radio frequency that he used was monitored only by other officers assigned to the aggressive driving patrol. The circumstances and sad outcome of the incident focused unwanted attention on the Marion County special enforcement program. 6

Program managers in Marion County worked closely with local prosecutors during the planning and implementation phases of their enforcement program. A Commissioner of the Traffic Court in Marion County supported the efforts of the Traffic Safety Partnership by excluding violators from the Safe Driver Program who officers designated as aggressive drivers; the diversion program typically is available to drivers who receive a ticket for a moving violation and have had no prior convictions during the previous two years. The traffic commissioner also regularly imposed a supplemental fine of $25 when designated aggressive drivers contested their citations.

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THE TUCSON POLICE DEPARTMENT
With 487,000 residents in 2001, the City of Tucson is the second largest city in Arizona, and the center of government for Pima County. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 863,000 people lived in Pima County in the year 2001, representing a population increase of 29 percent since 1990. Census data show that the population is composed of 62 percent White, 29 percent Hispanic, 3 percent each of African American and Native American, and 2 percent who reported Asian ancestry. Pima County’s median household income in 2001 was $45,100 and the median home price was $124,500.

image - police cruise surrounded by kids


The Tucson Police Department was formed in 1871, when the community was part of the Arizona Territories. The department has expanded during recent years to a force of 1,000 sworn officers who are responsible for patrolling the 200 square miles encompassed by the City of Tucson. The Traffic Section of the Tucson PD is referred to as the “flagship of the department” because of its high visibility and interaction with the community. Through education, enforcement and engineering, the Traffic Section is dedicated to fostering a safe environment for all individuals traveling within the City of Tucson. The Tucson Police Department had conducted large-scale impaired driver and safety restraint awareness programs, among other activities, prior to being selected by NHTSA to develop and implement an aggressive driving program.

WE’VE GOT YOUR NUMBER
The Tucson Police Department selected “We’ve Got Your Number” as the name for their program, a reference to the telephone number that could be used to report incidents of aggressive driving to the police department; the “hotline” was the central component of the Tucson PD’s public information and education program. As required by their agreement with NHTSA, the Tucson Police Department’s aggressive driving program comprised both special enforcement and public information and education.

ENFORCEMENT
As in Marion County, the special enforcement component of Tucson’s program involved deployment of marked and unmarked police vehicles in areas characterized by the disproportionate incidence of aggressive driving. A review of crash rec ords led to the identification of four roadway segments within the City of Tucson that would become the special enforcement zones during the six-month program period. The special enforcement effort focused on drivers who exhibited any of the moving violations that frequently are associated with aggressive driving, including speeding, failure to obey traffic controls/devices, failure to yield, improper or unsafe lane changes, and following too closely.

Two officers patrolled the special enforcement zones in unmarked police vehicles, with motorcycle backup nearby, nearly every day throughout the six-month program; two additional officers each patrolled the special enforcement zones in unmarked vehicles one day per week. That is, the special enforcement effort of the We’ve Got Your Number program was conducted as the primary assignment of their regular-duty shifts by the same two officers for the duration of the program. Also, the same two officers augmented the primary patrols one day each week throughout the program. The four participating officers devoted a total of 2,400 officer-hours to the special enforcement effort, on 168 days, during the six-month program period.

image - motorcycle policemen wait as backup


PUBLIC INFORMATION AND EDUCATION (PI&E)
The Tucson PD officers who conducted the special enforcement also developed and implemented the PI&E component prior to beginning the enforcement period. With the assistance of department staff, the officers developed brochures, key chains, pens, and pencils, bumper stickers, 40,000 inserts that accompanied all citations issued, and 20,000 flyers that were attached to Domino’s pizza boxes. Officers distributed materials and displayed their unmarked, aggressive driving enforcement vehicles at several special events, such as Public Safety Appreciation Night at the Tucson Sidewinders’ baseball stadium. Also, an outdoor advertising company donated ten billboards located throughout the city to announce the program’s aggressive driving hotline. And, Alltel Corporation, a mobile telephone provider, donated the service and answering machine to record reports of aggressive driving.

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The Tucson PI&E program did not include paid radio and television advertising. Rather, officers discussed the aggressive driving program on public-access cable stations, and invited reporters to ride with them during special patrols. The ride-alongs resulted in several news stories by local television stations and frequent discussion during drive-time radio talk shows. The radio hosts continued to announce the hotline telephone number throughout the six-month program period.

The Tucson PD’s program received considerable free publicity because of the Aggressive Driving Hotline. Officers announced the hotline and discussed the reasons for conducting the enforcement program on local radio and television talk shows and news programs. The report line telephone number was printed on the brochures, bumper stickers, and other items that were distributed, and it was prominently displayed on billboards throughout the city. Motorists were encouraged to call the telephone number to describe serious incidents of aggressive driving and report the license plate numbers of the vehicles involved. The lieutenant in charge of the program personally responded to each report of aggressive driving with letters to the caller and to the registered owner of the offending vehicle. Letters of appreciation were sent to callers, while owners of offending vehicles received letters that described the incident and warned that further reports could result in enforcement action. The response to the hotline was tremendous.

The Aggressive Driving hotline received 87 calls during the first month of operation and averaged 64 calls per month during the six-month program period. Lieutenant Martín Moreno, the Tucson PD lieutenant responsible for the program, reported that many of the people who received warning letters called him to complain, however, defending their driving behavior usually caused them to realize that they had acted inappropriately while driving, and in some cases, dangerously. Most of the conversations ended with a sincere apology and promise to drive with more consideration in the future. The officers involved in the program were gratified by these individual responses and consider them to be among the most important outcomes of their program.

Program managers in Tucson met with their local prosecutors and Municipal Court Magistrates early in the planning phase of their project to advise court personnel about the dangers of aggressive driving and to discuss Arizona’s new aggressive driving statute. Collaboration between law enforcement and the courts resulted in a standardized plea agreement that ensured uniform prosecution of aggressive drivers, beginning at implementation of the Tucson police Department’s special enforcement program.

SUMMARY OF THE PROGRAMS
The overall level of special enforcement effort can be measured by the numbers of patrol hours, days on which patrols were conducted, and officers deployed. The agencies participating in the Marion County Traffic Safety Partnership’s program devoted a total of 1,400 hours to the special patrols, compared to 2,400 officer hours by the Tucson Police Department. The scheduling and staffing of the special enforcement patrols also differed. The Marion County program limited deployment of special patrols to 61 days during the six month program period, compared to 168 days of special enforcement in the Tucson Police Department’s program. Also, 42 officers from six law enforcement agencies conducted the Marion County special enforcement patrols, compared to the same four officers from a single agency in the Tucson program. The Marion County officers worked an average of 33 overtime hours each during the six-month period (with individual participation ranging from four to 76 hours). In contrast, two officers of the Tucson Police Department worked full-time on their program, with two additional officers devoting one day each week to the special enforcement effort. In other words, the Marion County approach was to deploy several officers at a time, distributing the hours among 42 officers from six participating agencies, and to limit the frequency of the patrols to one day in three. The Tucson approach was to assign the same four officers to the special detail and to conduct the special enforcement patrols nearly every day of the six month program period.

Other differences between the two programs are revealed by the proportions of grant funds devoted to the three primary categories of expenditures. In particular, the Marion County program spent half of its budget on publicity, including frequent paid advertising on radio and television stations. Purchasing air time encouraged station managers to donate considerable public service time to the Marion County program, in addition to the paid spots, resulting in extensive publicity by broadcast media. In contrast, the Tucson program spent only 11 percent of its budget on publicity, relying on inexpensive flyers, donated billboards, volunteer efforts, and free news coverage of their program, rather than paying for advertising. The Tucson program spent 40 percent more of its budget on officer labor than did the Marion County program, in order to support the two full-time officers and schedule of more frequent special enforcement patrols. Further, the Tucson program spent 22 percent of its budget on equipment, compared to about two percent in Marion County. The Tucson program purchased an unmarked patrol car, motorcycle, laser speed gun, and two in-vehicle video systems with grant funds, while the Marion County program purchased only two in-vehicle video cameras. Figure 3 illustrates a comparison of program expenditures.

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Figure 3 Comparison of Program Costs

Table 2 presents a summary of the enforcement effort in both aggressive driving programs. The table lists the numbers of enforcement stops and citations for offenses associated with aggressive driving (separately) and other offenses (combined) that were issued by officers in each program. The table shows that the Marion County officers stopped 1,334 motorists and cited 2,215 offenses, for an average of 1.7 offenses per enforcement stop. Officers of the Tucson program made 1,907 enforcement stops and cited 2,383 offenses, for an average of 1.3 offenses per stop. The difference in average number of offenses per stop reflects the Marion County program’s emphasis on citing motorists who exhibited two or more offenses that are associated with aggressive driving.

TABLE 2
SUMMARY OF ENFORCEMENT EFFORT BY THE TWO AGGRESSIVE DRIVING PROGRAMS

Offense
Marion County
TrafficSafety Partnership
Tucson
Police Department
Aggressive Driving
568*
56**
Speeding
916
1,343
Following Too Closely
244
97
Unsafe Lane Change
173
57
Failure to Yield Right of Way
22
32
Other
745
742
Total Violations Cited
2,215
2,383
Total Number of Stops
1,334
1,907
*The 568 offenses are not included in the Marion County total because Aggressive Driving is a designation made by officers to represent the severity of an infraction (usually two or more infractions).

**The 56 aggressive driving offenses listed for Tucson are included in the Tucson total because aggressive driving is a separate offense in Arizona.


The key elements of the two aggressive driving programs and maps indicating the locations of the special enforcement zones are presented below.

Marion County Traffic Safety Partnership “R.O.A.D. Team Program”

Enforcement
3 special enforcement zones;
6 local law enforcement agencies;
1,394 officer-hours devoted to the special patrols;
Special enforcement conducted on 61 days during the 6 month program period.

Tactics: Squads of five officers deployed to the special enforcement zones during morning and evening commuting periods on selected days to focus on vehicles exhibiting two or more aggressive driving violations. Experimented with police helicopters but ground units could not reach offenders.

Publicity
Press releases
Posters
Brochures
Outdoor display advertising
Corporate Campaign (links to companies)
Television and radio paid advertising
Television and radio public service announcements
Several articles in the Indianapolis Star

Tucson Police Department
“We’ve Got Your Number Program”

Enforcement
4 special enforcement zones;
1 law enforcement agency;
2,400 officer-hours devoted to the special patrols;
Special enforcement conducted on 168 days during the 6 month program period.

Tactics: Two officers were assigned full-time responsibility to patrol the special enforcement zones in unmarked police vehicles (with motorcycle backup nearby) nearly every day throughout the program; two additional officers each deployed in unmarked vehicles one day per week.

Publicity
Pizza boxtop flyers
Flyers distributed to motorists
Outdoor display advertising
Bumper stickers
Ride-alongs by news reporters
Television and radio coverage of the program
Special events displays
Aggressive Driver Hot Line

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5 The Marion County program abandoned two of its special enforcement zones at about the mid-point of the six-month study period.

6 Because of the short duration of the pursuit, it is unlikely that notifying the Indianapolis Police Department’s dispatcher could have affected the outcome. The driver who evaded the enforcement stop was operating his vehicle on a suspended license and would have gone to jail on that charge. He fled the scene of the crash on foot and was chased and apprehended by the officer and his K-9 partner moments later; the officer called for an ambulance for the critically injured motorist during the brief foot chase. Agency policies concerning high-speed pursuits were scrutinized following the incident.