State Police crack down on reckless drivers

Leah Johnson

Editor-in-Chief, 5 Rights News


  Indiana State Police are implementing an aggressive ‘Crash Reduction Enforcement Program’ to save Hoosier lives.

Traffic deaths have  been slowly on the rise since 2009, with 700 deaths to more than 750 in 2010. According to ISP Commander John Smithers, while traffic related deaths have been managed well in past years, the recent spike is cause for alarm.

“Over the past couple of years we’ve been pretty successful as far as reducing the number of fatal crashes. However, this year there has been a bit of an aberration in fatals- particularly in rural areas.” Smithers said.

Crashes, he notes, are the result of poor driving techniques.

“Following too closely, changing lanes without properly signaling, driving too fast for weather conditions.”

The program is an undercover effort, which will use less traditional vehicles than the department has used in the past. Helicopters, cyclist patrols, unmarked Dodge Chargers and Ford Mustangs are all a part of the campaign.

Motorist Sandra O’Brien has firsthand experience with undercover vehicles.

“I mean, people are going a lot faster than me.  I’m shocked that I got pulled over, I really am.” O’Brien said.

“I’m not even a speed demon- I’m not. I’m just trying to get on this road. That’s all I was trying to do.”

Statistically, the measures already have  proven to be effective. The more police contacts made, the lower the amount of traffic related fatalities. In March 2012 alone, police contacts skyrocketed to 22,790 while total crashes dropped to 11,660.

Indiana State Police Superintendent  Paul Whitesell said he intends on using any method necessary to save lives.

“We are steadfast in our commitment to minimize the number of crashes that injure and kill people on our roadways and will use all tools and enforcement methods at our disposal to stop such needless tragedies.” Whitesell said.

The extra measures, State Trooper Justin Hobbs said are necessary for Hoosier safety.

“If you are abiding by traffic laws you don’t have anything to worry about.” Hobbs said.

“We got a laser clock on a burgundy SUV at 65 in a workzone, and then you have workers out here still working. And that’s why we’re out here, keep those folks safe.”

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