Center for Problem-Oriented Policing

Summary of Responses

The table below summarizes the responses to aggressive driving, the means by which they are intended to work, the conditions under which they should work best, and some factors you should consider before implementing a particular response. It is critical that you tailor responses to local circumstances, and that you can justify each response based on reliable analysis. In most cases, an effective strategy will involve implementing several different responses. Law enforcement responses alone are seldom effective in reducing or solving the problem.

Improving Opportunities for Secure but Convenient Storage
# Response How It Works Works Best If… Considerations
Enforcing Traffic Laws
1 Deploying surveillance technologies It increases the probability of detection ...the problem is well-defined, the response is based on analysis of incident and hot- spot data, environmental issues have already been addressed, and the public is notified and educated before enforcement occurs Surveillance systems require staff to install and maintain them, officer and staff training in use of equipment and data interpretation, and coordination with your jurisdiction's transportation department
2 Conducting high- visibility enforcement It increases the probability of detection and deters aggressive driving ...it is done in aggressive driving hot spots and in conjunction with other awareness-raising techniques It should take place intensively or frequently, both resource-intensive propositions
3 Conducting "centipede" enforcement It increases the probability of detection ...drivers are generally aware of the enforcement effort, but cannot predict exactly when and where it will occur It is staff-intensive; it works only as long as drivers continue to be surprised

 

4 Conducting enforcement crackdowns It increases the probability of detection and/or the consequences to the driver ...locations are selected based on analysis of crime and GIS data It can be staff-intensive and sometimes practical only on an overtime basis; experienced personnel can be more efficient in detecting aggressive driving
5 Referring habitual aggressive drivers to state licensing agencies It deters aggressive drivers by restricting their driving privileges ...officers can readily access driving records Providing access to new data systems can be complex, time-consuming, and costly; drivers may disregard licensing restrictions
6 Checking records of portable electronic device use It increases the probability of linking crashes to aggressive driving behaviors ...enhanced penalties apply to driving offenses that occur while drivers are using portable electronic devices Checking device records may be burdensome, so this response should be used when called for by the severity of the offense and/or when a link to distracting technology is clear
# Response How It Works Works Best If… Considerations
Enhancing Legislation and Regulation
7 Defining and prohibiting aggressive driving in the state vehicle code It clarifies for drivers and police officers what constitutes aggressive driving and provides for appropriate penalties ...the statute is based on observable behaviors and not on proving driver intent, and police enforcement is robust It may require new legislation
8 Restricting window tinting It removes driver anonymity and thereby deters aggressive driving ...the law restricts tinting of both front and side windows After-market window tinting combines with factory tinting, so the law must address the percentage of light transmitted inside the vehicle after both types of tinting are applied
9 Requiring Intelligent Speed Adaptation systems in large vehicle fleets It physically restricts vehicles from reaching excessively high speeds ...it is limited to large vehicle fleets where one organization owns the vehicles and employs the drivers Regulatory requirements impose a cost burden on private-sector businesses
# Response How It Works Works Best If… Considerations
 Removing or Modifying Environmental and Situational Triggers
10 Timing traffic signals to reduce aggressive driving triggers It reduces drivers' frustration ...it is part of an overall effort to reduce environmental triggers of aggressive driving Traffic engineers must carry it out
11 Enhancing traffic- signal and street- sign visibility It reduces drivers' frustration ...it is part of a local transportation department's capital improvement plan or annual survey process It requires equipment purchase, installation, and maintenance funding
12 Improving drivers' commute information in congested areas It reduces drivers' frustration ...it is focused on areas with congested commute routes It may require state transportation departments' cooperation
13 Clarifying appropriate merging zones It clarifies driving expectations and thereby reduces drivers' frustration ...drivers understand and comply with merging directives It is relatively inexpensive to implement; it would benefit from media exposure for public education
14 Providing speed and distance indicators in areas where speeding or tailgating is common It reminds drivers to drive safely ...indicators are installed in areas where speeding and tailgating are common It is relatively inexpensive; it works to raise drivers' internal controls, so it likely will reduce aggressive driving behaviors in average drivers; it is less likely to affect committed aggressive drivers
15 Using traffic- calming features in neighborhoods where speeding is common It makes it more difficult and risky to speed ...the features are placed in residential neighborhoods and areas where a cohesive physical and visual environment exists or can be created It is in the purview of neighborhood planners and traffic engineers rather than police, and it is easier to integrate seamlessly when neighborhoods are initially designed.
16 Maximizing the use of existing roads It reduces drivers' frustration due to traffic congestion ...it is part of a comprehensive traffic-flow strategy Some of these strategies have large policy implications, such as promoting telecommuting and flexible work schedules; it may require the cooperation of government and corporate leaders
17 Modifying physical road features It reduces drivers' frustration ...road features are well-designed such that they reduce rather than increase drivers' frustration Some physical features are very expensive to alter; it should be considered for both new and existing roads
# Response How It Works Works Best If… Considerations
Educating Drivers
18 Stigmatizing aggressive driving through public information campaigns It deters aggressive driving through informal social pressure ...a coordinated, long-term campaign can be funded and implemented, and messages are carefully aimed at specific driver groups and are compelling to target audiences Media campaigns are expensive and require professional advertising or marketing services; a long-term effort is likely needed
19 Addressing aggressive driving in drivers' education curricula It deters aggressive driving through early education ... it is undertaken during a routine update to drivers' education curricula It requires cooperation from state licensing agencies and public and private driving schools
20 Providing primary education on avoiding aggressive drivers It reduces the likelihood of provoking angry drivers to drive aggressively ...it is part of a coordinated, long-term campaign Primary education can be expensive and requires the participation of professional advertising and public health specialists
21 Training professional drivers in aggressive driving prevention It deters aggressive driving through education ...a trainer knowledgeable in aggressive driving prevention conducts the training It might be made mandatory or offered for free or at a discounted charge
22 Encouraging employer monitoring of professional drivers' driving It deters aggressive driving by increasing the probability of detection and the resulting consequences ...employers are committed to enforcing companies' driving rules, and fleet insurance rates are reduced by having such programs in place It requires the cooperation of company executives and fleet managers
# Response How It Works Works Best If… Considerations
Enhancing the Consequences of Aggressive Driving
23 Requiring anger management treatment for aggressive drivers It reduces drivers' aggressive reactions to frustration ...judges and prosecutors support treatment options, effective treatment programs are available in the jurisdiction, and eligible defendants are selected To reach a critical mass of defendants to justify a treatment contract, program designers may wish to develop referral criteria that consider other offenses, such as reckless and impaired driving, and some nondriving offenses in which anger is a significant contributing factor
24 Requiring vehicle-based monitoring systems to enforce driving restrictions Systems lock ignitions and report drivers' speeding to the courts All parties involved agree to their use They may be expensive to install
# Response How It Works Works Best If… Considerations
Responses With Limited Effectiveness
25 Discouraging aggressive driving through general publicity campaigns Print, radio, Internet and television media can all be employed Used in conjunction with responses targeted at those most likely to offend Aggressive drivers tend to underestimate the risk of apprehension and overestimate their driving skills; they are also less likely to be swayed by logic and reason