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On N.C. Highways, SUVs May Really Be the SHP

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DURHAM — If you think that is an SUV driving behind you, look again. It could be the SHP -- theState Highway Patrol.

Tailgating, speeding, cutting off other drivers -- the Highway Patrol calls it aggressive driving.

The patrol is targeting aggressive drivers with an approach many violators would call surprising.

It could be just another Chevy Tahoe rolling down Durham's section of I-40. But look closer, and you might see a State Highway Patrol officer behind the wheel.

The patrol is using unmarked, spotter vehicles to catch aggressive drivers.

The first catch is a driver accused of speeding and tailgating near I-40 and Highway 15/501.

But catching people for aggressive driving is not a difficult task. After only 10 minutes in the unmarked SUV, there was a second aggressive driving pull-over. In the second instance, the driver was accused of driving 85 in a 65 mile-per-hour zone.

A short distance from the traffic stop was an accident. Troopers say an aggressive driver was following too closely and rear ended another car.

Next, a textbook example of how the whole thing works.

The unsuspecting drivers of a red car and a blue truck speed past the spotter SUV.

An unmarked cruiser jumps into the action.

They decide which officer will stop which vehicle. "Let Gallio get the truck, he got a clock on it," one officer says, "and you get the red vehicle."

Then the marked unit falls in behind.

When it is all over, a rare double pull-over.

Two drivers cited for aggressive driving violations.

Arizona and Virginia are the only states to pass tougher laws aimed at aggressive drivers. A recent survey shows more states should consider them.
  • 62 percent of drivers say they have felt threatened by another driver in the past year. Tailgating is one of the big reasons. Drivers list that as the number one reason they feel threatened on the road.
  • 75 percent of drivers support tougher laws aimed at slowing down road ragers.
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    Mark Roberts, Reporter
    Edward Wilson, Photographer
    Kay Miller, Web Editor

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