BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A warning to drivers this weekend as Maryland Transportation Authority police launch an intense effort to crack down on aggressive driving.

Derek Valcourt has more on the smooth operator program.

MDTA police say they’ll have extra hands on deck all week and are warning drivers now to keep it legal.

Chances are you come across aggressive drivers every time you leave home.

“I guess they are in a rush and don’t really care about anyone else on the road,” said one motorist

“You have to be on the lookout. You have to be alert and not get smacked really,” said Judd Mitchell.

“They’re endangering other people without really thinking about themselves,” said a motorist.

That’s why MDTA police are launching the second wave of their Smooth Operator campaign Sunday through Saturday, targeting aggressive driving as they patrol many of the areas major roadways.

“Any violations that are arrestable our officers will take action,” said a MDTA officer.

Specifically they’ll be looking for speeding, tailgating, unsafe lane changes, and drivers who disobey traffic signs –putting other drivers on the road at risk.

“There’s this entitlement with aggressive drivers that they matter more than anybody else on the road,” said Geordie Mitchell. “That drives me crazy.”

Another big no-no:  drunk driving.

Police promise to be on the lookout during peak party hours.

“We know it’s the holiday season,” said a MDTA officer. “People want to celebrate and enjoy themselves.  But to do that, don’t do it on the road.  Don’t get behind the wheel while driving.”

For drivers like John Eppler, it’s a warning he’ll take with him on the road.

“A lot of times I think I drive pretty aggressively, so [I’ll] try to slow down a little bit and keep an eye out for police I guess,” Eppler said.

Maryland isn’t the only state cracking down on aggressive driving.

Be warned: If your plans this week take you to Virginia, Pennsylvania or D.C., police there are taking part in the Smooth Operator campaign as well.

To prevent drunk driving, the tipsy taxi program is once again offering free rides home to people who have been drinking in Baltimore City on Sunday and Monday from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. You can call 877-963-8294.

Comments (8)
  1. Wheres common sense when you need it says:

    They need to crack down on their own driving as well. I understand the need to “get” there when there is an emergency, but flying down the highway, in the fast lane, tailgating untill the car in front of them moves, and then right back up to speed again? If there is a need for a rapid response, then lights and sirens need to be used. Thats why they are installed on the cruisers. Lead by example and more people will respect the laws and the officers.

    1. Lawless says:

      Witnessed 2 state troopers, on 2 different days in the past week, speeding at least 15 mph over the speed limit and tailgating. I hope they were on a call but my confidence in their integrity is slowly diminishing

    2. Mystick says:

      My thoughts exactly… I’m getting sick of this double-standard many police officers seem to have regarding their own driving habits. Not all of them, but sure seems like a majority.

  2. Fed up says:

    This sounds good, but I’ve found that the police dont really do much to stop aggressive drivers. I’m tired of these people who have no place to go but only have 1 minute to get there. Some of the women are in so such a hurry to get to the shoping center or Walmart, they are willing to run you off the road so they can get there faster. And, the men will tailgate you despite the fact that there are 4 cars in front of you who are setting the pace. What are you supposed to do – fly over them? Its the same story on the road as it is every where else – no courtesy and no caring for the welfare of others. Rudness, stupidity and arrogance – a dangerous combination.

  3. CSRealist says:

    Naturally, but not so obviously, these driving laws come as the population of Maryland grows disproportionately older; thus, putting “aggressive” drivers on the hook (ie younger drivers who, incidentally, are less likely to vote relative to those 15-30 years older).
    People are getting older, so laws are being passed that reflect a disproportionately older (weaker eyesight, slower/less competent motor skills/coordination, [more expensive vehicles]) population.

    1. Think Again? says:

      Perhaps I live in an area where traffic is different than yours, but from my driver’s seat, I see a disproportionate percentage of young drivers that drive aggressively. There are a few “given” facts, regarding youth, that you may have forgotten; such as: a tendency to be less patient, a need to challenge authority and rules, a false feeling of immortality, and a propensity toward taking risks. Not that I seek to “stereotype” youths in general, rather, I simply describe myself thirty years ago.
      Lest someone burn up their keyboard in an angered frenzy to point out an exception, allow me to clarify that not all aggressive drivers are young. Again, I speak of a disproportionate percentage that I observe from my own vehicle. It is my personal opinion that most people change their outlook on driving as they grow older. Speaking from personal experience, I find that driving more slowly saves fuel, for one thing. How many of us complain about the high cost of fuel all week long at work, and then “race” home on Friday to enjoy our time off a few minutes sooner? Another thing about “age and experience” is that older drivers tend to take fewer risks while driving. Unlike “new” drivers, older drivers have seen, heard, read about, and are aware of more fatal traffic accidents than younger drivers; based on sheer length of driving experience. More information, coupled with more patience and less tendency toward risk taking equates to safer driving, on average.
      Perhaps laws that tend to target younger drivers, have grow out of necessity, rather than the result of some dark and “behind the scenes” conspiracy to target a particular age group. Before you jump to a conclusion, take it from an old “fart” who hasn’t had a ticket, or been involved in a traffic accident for nearly 40 years: Take your time when considering the facts, remove your impulsive and impatient emotional contributions from the equation, follow the thought process through to its conclusion, and consider all of the information (regardless of whether it supports your desired outcome). If you can do this, I believe you will find that “getting to your destination 10 minutes sooner” does not carry the same weight as “taking a life in the process”. Fair enough?

  4. Qwerty says:

    Just another “feel good” ad campaign for something the police should be doing on a regular basis as part of their jobs.

    I continually see speeding, tailgaiting, stop sign running, and illegal passing just in the 2 miles to church. And the smooth operator web site says is a joke. It states that I can report the incident if I am able to identify the operator of the vehicle and provide a tag number, and be willing to server as a witness. The Sheriff’s office told me that I could not be a witness (even with pictures) and that they would have to witness the offenses.

    Trying to get radar setup in my neighborhood has been a total wast of time, too. The county traffic study shows that 85% of the cars are doing at least 10mph over the speed limit, but after calling the Sheriff’s department to get radar enforcement I still haven’t seen it. If people are that aggressive as soon as they leave their houses, than they are going to be aggressive everwhere they drive.

    Since my job has me on the road almost every day, I continually see offenses from the minute I leave my house. If I see this much going on, then why aren’t the patrolling officers seeing these as well? As long as drivers continue to get away with these offenses, they will just get worse. All it would take would be to enforce existing laws and force drivers to break their bad habits, and probably prevent accidents and improve traffic flow in the process (which is why the laws are there to begin with).

    But it is probably easier and more cost effective to use the speed cameras. That way the officers can be used to investigate incidents after the fact, instead of trying to prevent them in the first place (typical government logic).

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