Washington State's TACT Program Still Working Well

Highly visible enforcement targeting aggressive drivers of cars and trucks continues to reduce large-truck fatality crashes, with 26 occurring in 2010, according to an update published in The Police Chief magazine.

The magazine of the International Association of Chiefs of Police has published a progress report about TACT, a program started in 2005 by the Washington State Patrol to reduce the number of fatality crashes that involve large trucks but are caused by aggressive drivers of passenger vehicles. TACT –- Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks –- started as a pilot project and has been funded with FMCSA grants, with the second grant obtained in 2009 to evaluate its results. Law enforcement agencies in at least six states (Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas) are using TACT, according to the report by WSP Lt. Steven D. Johnson in the September issue of The Police Chief.

TACT involves both education and enforcement, including the distribution of posters, flyers, advertisements, road signs, and even TACT banners displayed on large trucks traveling the chosen enforcement routes. Troopers ride in large trucks and use aircraft to identify aggressive drivers and report them to patrol units, who then stop and usually cite the drivers.

The 2009 evaluation showed that TACT effectively increases drivers' awareness and changes drivers' behavior, causing drivers who were stopped by law enforcement officers to allow more space when passing or following large trucks and also stay out of truckers' blind spots, Johnson reported.

Five years of Washington state results are encouraging: From 49 fatality collisions with 55 deaths in large truck crashes in 2005, the statewide total dropped to 26 collisions with 27 deaths in 2010, according to the article.

IACP is preparing to host its 118th annual conference Oct. 22-26 in Chicago. The event includes a large expo where vehicles (including aircraft), communications and IT equipment, weapons, uniforms and PPE, training, and forensics/investigation equipment are displayed.

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