Local News

Highway Patrol Begins Crackdown On Aggressive Drivers

Posted August 29, 2003 7:43 a.m. EDT

— The Labor Day weekend will be no holiday for the North Carolina Highway Patrol. Troopers say they will be going after aggressive drivers.

The crackdown on speeders, tailgaters and reckless drivers started Thursday, when I-40 had a slightly different personality on a hot, sunny day.

A helicopter offered eyes from the sky. There was a wide variety of ground support -- as well as a "we're gonna fix this" attitude.

The Highway Patrol thinks aggressive drivers are getting out of control. Troopers say drivers who speed, tailgate and change lanes rapidly are the most dangerous drivers -- especially on holiday weekends.

"I love getting out here and working on this," Sgt. Wade Bulloch said. "I know why people are wrecking, and I know how to stop it, too. If I can just get out there and make it happen."

The aggressive driving crackdown uses a technique called Wolfpacking. Helicopters look for aggressive drivers. Unmarked spotter cars move in to watch the bad driving behavior. Then the nimble motorcycles weave through traffic, make the stop and issue the citations.

"It is our hope that this type of driving behavior . . . that you will not keep driving like this," Bulloch said. "It could cause collisions."

It caused two tickets Thursday on a certain stretch of I-40 in Durham County, one for 80 in a 65, another for following too closely.

The Highway Patrol said it usually has about 15 troopers assigned to I-40 in Wake and Durham counties. During the Labor Day Weekend, 52 troopers will patrol that same area.

The holiday crackdown comes after an Orange County lawmaker tried to crack down on aggressive drivers by toughening the penalty. Rep. Joe Hackney introduced a bill this spring that would create a specific charge of aggressive driving. The punishment would include four points on a driver's license -- only passing a stopped school bus carries a bigger penalty.

Hackney's bill never made it past the General Assemby.