NLEOMF Participates in Smooth Operator 2009 Campaign in Baltimore

NLEOMF Senior Director of Communications Kevin Morison joined law enforcement and safety officials at the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore at 11 a.m., July 7, to speak about the importance of driving safely during summer travel and throughout the year, to keep citizens, and peace officers, safe on America’s roads.

Read the press release below to learn more, and remember to Drive Safely and help keep our roads safe.

AGGRESSIVE DRIVERS SPEED TOWARD TRAUMA
Campaign to Halt Aggressive Driving from Destroying Lives

Baltimore, M.D. – Faced with two consecutive years of the high percentages of fatal aggressive driving crashes in Maryland, the Smooth Operator 2009 campaign focuses on halting a major contributing factor, speeding. As summer travel begins to breed frustration on the roads, top Maryland officials and law enforcement came together to alert aggressive drivers of the costs of aggressive driving by kicking off the campaign on the helipad of the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center.

In Maryland, more than 6,200 aggressive driving crashes took place in 2007 and 76 lives were lost as a result. In Maryland, speeding was the primary contributing circumstance for 28 percent of all aggressive driving fatalities in 2007, slightly lower than the national average of 31 percent. This equates to more than 13,050 lives lost to speeding and aggressive driving nationwide.

“One of the quickest ways to reduce the incidence of injuries and fatalities associated with aggressive driving is to slow down,” remarked Thomas Scalea, MD, FACS, Physician-In-Chief, R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center. “It is imperative for drivers to realize that maintaining a safe speed is a matter of life and death, and that the devastating costs associated with human loss cannot be recouped.”

While the emotional and personal loss and impact associated with crashes is incalculable, research conducted by the Inova Regional Trauma Center found that in Maryland, the hospital costs associated with all injuries – in which aggressive driving was a factor – totaled $41,166,137 per year, with an average cost of $12,566 per person.* Emphasizing the personal toll of these injuries, the average hospital stay for victims of aggressive driving is four days. Nationally, NHTSA estimates that crashes caused by speeding, a major factor in aggressive driving, cost society $40.4 billion per year, or $76,865 per minute.

As the roads heat up, law enforcement officers will be working to drive the message home to motorists to stay calm, slow down and drive safely at all times. In addition to speeding, law enforcement will be targeting and citing drivers exhibiting other behaviors associated with aggressive driving including tailgating, running red lights and stop signs, improper passing, and other maneuvers that endanger other people or property.

The Smooth Operator campaign is conducted in four separate waves, which combine increased law enforcement and public education outreach. Since the campaign began in 1997, almost three million citations have been issued to aggressive drivers. Citations in 2008 totaled more than 319,000, a little over five times the 62,000 issued since the program’s inception. The second wave currently is underway, taking place from July 5-11. With two more waves planned for the summer of 2009, this campaign is sure to reach many drivers and law enforcement is sure to issue thousands more citations across the region.

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About Smooth Operator
Eighteen Washington area law enforcement agencies launched Smooth Operator in 1997, targeting motorists who drove aggressively. By 1999, the coalition had grown to include elected officials and representatives from government agencies, private sector organizations, and law enforcement agencies from the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. To enhance the annual law enforcement efforts, public awareness campaigns and research began in 2000 and formed a cooperative interstate effort that is unique among the law enforcement groups and organizations involved. Smooth Operator uses the following 3-E’s approach to tackle aggressive driving: 1) enforcement;2) education and 3) evaluation. For more information, visit www.smoothoperatorprogram.com.

*Research published in 2004

Questions about this event?
Contact: Emily Howard/Jessica Larkin, 202-289-2001