Friday, October 17, 2014

Howard County Police "STEP" Up Traffic Enforcement

The Howard County Police Department (HCPD) has announced that it will increase traffic enforcement in targeted areas with higher than ordinary levels of accidents, DUIs, and speeding violations.

The Specialized Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) analyzed data for traffic incidents and aggressive driving and found that they were clustered in specific areas of the County during certain hours on recurring days.

Traffic Enforcement Zones (TEZ) with increased Howard County Police
presence (click map for larger size)

HCPD officers will conduct high-visibility enforcement efforts on Baltimore National Pike (US 40), Route 29, MD-175, Route 1, MD-100, MD-108 (Waterloo Road), Snowden River Parkway, Little Patuxent Parkway, and Main Street (Ellicott City).

Howard County Police Department News Release (from their Facebook page on 10/14/14):

NEWS RELEASE: Police “STEP” up roadway safety efforts with new Specialized Traffic Enforcement Program 

The Howard County Police Department launched a new traffic safety strategy this week that will use data to target areas most at risk for collisions, speeding and DUI offenses. The Specialized Traffic Enforcement Program, also known as STEP, was created upon recommendations of an internal focus group formed in February to address traffic safety issues in Howard County.

The team examined the best ways to address and monitor ongoing traffic issues in the areas that are most affected by crashes, speeding, and DUI violations, and targeted programs for distracted and aggressive driving.

Research showed that certain roadways consistently have the highest numbers of collisions. Additionally, it was found that the majority of these collisions occur on common days of the week and times of the day.

Since high-visibility traffic enforcement has proven to impact motorists’ driving behaviors, the team developed STEP. The new program dedicates officers to work on specific roadways during the time frames that have the highest collision rates.

The enforcement efforts of assigned patrol officers will be collected and analyzed over six-month periods to determine the effectiveness of these newly created Traffic Enforcement Zones (TEZ).

“This program is similar to the data-based strategic policing we use to identify and address emerging crime issues,” said Police Chief Gary Gardner. “We are expanding this model to our roadways and using statistical analysis to deploy resources where they are most needed to keep our driving public safe.”

This same approach will be used to assign officers to actively patrol areas identified as having the highest instances of distracted driving, aggressive driving, and driving under the influence. This data will also be collected and analyzed in a comprehensive manner.

“This program will not take patrol officers from other duties or affect their response to calls for service,” said program coordinator Capt. Michael Yetter, commander of the HCPD special operations bureau. “We just want to make sure that we are analyzing the roadways that are the biggest safety concerns, and targeting our enforcement accordingly.”

As enforcement is only one component of an overall traffic safety program, existing and future education and awareness activities will also be incorporated. The following roadways have been identified as areas of focus for STEP:

• Baltimore National Pike between Normandy and Rt. 29
• Baltimore National Pike between Rt. 29 and Governors Run
• Main Street between Rogers Avenue and Baltimore County line
• Rt. 29 between Rt. 175 and Broken Land Parkway
• Rt. 29 between Rt. 175 and Rt. 100
• Rt. 29 between Rt. 70 and Baltimore National Pike
• Rt. 29 between Rt. 108 and Rt. 100
• Rt. 175 between Waterloo Road and Rt. 29
• Rt. 175 between Dobbin Road and Waterloo Road
• Washington Blvd. between Gorman Rd & Whiskey Bottom Road
• Washington Blvd. between Whiskey Bottom Rd & P.G. Co line
• Washington Blvd. between Rt. 175 and Rt. 100
• Waterloo Road between Rt. 175 and Snowden River Parkway
• Rt. 100 between Snowden River Parkway and Long Gate Pkway
• Snowden River Prkway between Broken Land Prkway & Rt. 175
• Little Patuxent Parkway between Banneker Road and Rt. 29

The police department wants all drivers to be aware that there will be an increased police presence on these roads.

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