From tailgating and speeding to red-light running and illegal passing, aggressive driving is a problem in Collier County, deputies say.
While the Collier County Sheriff’s Office addresses the issue of aggressive driving year-round, deputies will focus on it in the form of a public safety initiative starting Tuesday, Aug. 23, and continuing through December.
“We continually receive information from the public about motorists speeding, changing lanes without signaling, tailgating and reckless driving,” Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said. “The goal of this initiative is to slow down traffic and reduce injury crashes and fatalities on our roads, while achieving voluntary compliance of traffic laws through education and enforcement.”
Electronic signs will be deployed at key intersections to warn drivers that deputies will be on the lookout for aggressive drivers. Deputies will be out in force in marked patrol units, unmarked patrol units and marked police motorcycles _ all using radar and laser speed-measuring devices.
Deputies will focus largely on corridors identified by data as being high-volume crash areas. Deputies will also incorporate aggressive driving operations at times of day that data indicates are most closely tied to aggressive driving, including during the morning and after-work drive times on weekdays.
Initially, deputies will focus on the following corridors:
* Livingston Road from Immokalee Road to Golden Gate Parkway
* Collier Boulevard from U.S. 41 East to the Marco Island Bridge
* Vanderbilt Beach Road from U.S. 41 North to Collier Boulevard
The number of traffic deaths in Collier County is up 10 percent so far this year compared to the same period in 2015. There have been 19 fatal traffic crashes resulting in 22 traffic deaths during the first half of 2016 compared to 17 fatal crashes resulting in 20 traffic deaths over the same period in 2015. In 2015 Collier County followed a statewide trend of increased crashes and traffic fatalities. Fatalities increased from a total of 39 in 2014 to a total of 49 in 2015.
Aggressive driving is one of the most frequent driving complaints that CCSO receives from citizens. So far this year CCSO has received 3,425 aggressive driving complaints from the public. A total of 5,440 aggressive driving complaints were received in 2015.
Since Jan. 1, 2016, there have been 42 aggressive driving-related crashes. There were a total of 60 aggressive driving-related crashed in 2015.
Here are some ways you can stay safe on the road:
* Obey all speed limits and signs
* Limit distractions like eating, drinking, or talking on your phone
* Be alert and remain focused solely on the task of driving.
* Always wear your seat belt.
* Perform a simple safety check before driving. Turn on the lights and walk around the vehicle to ensure that all lights are in working order. Also check your blinkers for proper operation. Look for any fluid leaks or items hanging from the vehicle. Check to ensure that the tires are in good condition and are properly inflated.
* When you get into the car, adjust all mirrors and seats
* Always use your turn signal.
* When a light turns green, look left, then right, straight ahead, then left again before proceeding.
* Drive defensively - expect other drivers to make mistakes and think what you would do if a mistake does happen.
* Leave early and allow ample travel time.
If you find yourself on the road with an aggressive driver, try to get out of their way safely, do not attempt to catch up to them, and avoid eye contact and ignore any gestures.