Police step up safety enforcement effort
December 26, 2012
CRANBERRY TWP — Traffic patrol officers from the Cranberry and Northern Regional police departments have stepped up their aggressive driving enforcement efforts to keep Christmas holiday travelers safe. The enforcement, which began last week, is part of the statewide Operation Safe Holiday through the state Department of Transportation that includes seat belt checks, aggressive driving and impaired driving. Routes 19 and 228 in Cranberry and Routes 8, 19 and 910 in Pine and Marshall townships will be the targeted areas of additional patrols. Lt. Kevin Meyer of the Cranberry police department said the goal of the enforcement effort is to “change (bad) driving behaviors to make our highways safer.” Traffic in Cranberry is typically higher during the holidays, said Meyer. Cranberry officers will be looking out for motorists trying to beat traffic lights, speeding, aggressive driving and motorists not wearing seat belts, he said. Officer Scott Rick of the Northern Regional Police Department said the increased visibility of police on the highways and officers making traffic stops helps driver awareness. He added that the recently completed Wexford Flats project has helped reduce some aggressive driving with eliminating highway crossovers with the new middle turning lane. According to PennDOT accident statistics, 13 aggressive driving, 35 speeding, four alcohol-related and nine unbelted crashes were reported in 2011 on Route 19 in Cranberry. In Pine and Marshall, one aggressive driving, five speeding, three alcohol-related and three unbelted crashes were reported. From 2007 to 2011, there were a total of 54 aggressive driving crashes, 205 speeding, 30 alcohol-related and 56 unbelted crashes in Cranberry, Marshall and Pine townships. Overall for 2011, in Butler County there were 95 aggressive driving, 648 speeding, 187 alcohol-related and 247 unbelted crashes. Aggressive driving is classified as speeding, driving too fast for conditions, passing in a no-passing zone, running stop signs and red lights, tailgating, careless passing or lane changes, turning from the wrong lane, fleeing from police, sudden slowing or stopping, proceeding without clearance after a stop and making illegal U-turns. Deborah Casadei, spokesman for PennDOT District 10 that covers Butler County, said PennDOT has spent $2.3 million on aggressive driving enforcement programs across the state. “It’s important that when motorists are traveling to spend time with their family that they think about what they’re doing behind the wheel,” said Casadei.