View from the Burritt St. overpass shows traffic heading east on I-84 in Southington March 7. State police have begun enforcement of a “Stop Tailgating, You’re too Close” campaign, which is in effect for the entire month of March on I-84, I-91, I-95, I-691 and Routes 8, 9, and 15. | (Dave Zajac / Special to The Citizen)
March 10, 2014 11:19AM
By Lauren Sievert
During heavy commute times, the increased number of vehicles on highways can amplify poor driving decisions. Analysis of accident data prompted state police to launch a “Stop Tailgating, You’re Too Close” campaign this month.
The data from March 2013 showed 46 percent of accidents on state highways were rear-end collisions caused by vehicles following too close, said State Police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance. Police broke down the data and found most of the accidents occurred during morning and afternoon commutes.
“When a driver follows too closely behind another motorist, or tailgating, it is an aggressive driving behavior and the leading cause of injury- and non-injury-related accidents,” Vance said in a statement.
Vance said tailgating is a common, poor driving behavior that is often mistaken for “road rage.”
“We are doing everything we can to alleviate this problem,” Vance said.
Vance said after looking at the data state police felt they had to educate the public about the problem. Vance said the message is to “back off” and that while the campaign takes place in March, troopers won’t stop enforcing it April 1.
The first week of the enforcement resulted in 182 tickets and 24 warnings.
“It’s not worth the $132 fine,” Vance said.
Judd Everhart, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation, said the department is providing new technology to the troopers in the form of lasers that measure speed and distance. Vance said troopers are using the hand-held devices during patrols.
The DOT is posting “Tailgating Enforcement Zone” on overhead message boards on designated highways.
The enforcement will be in effect all month, focusing on Interstate 84, Interstate 91, Interstate 95, Interstate 691 and Routes 8, 9, and 15.
Wallingford Lt. Marc Mikulski said Wallingford officers enforce the following too close laws, but are not participating in the state police enforcement. Southington Sgt. Jeffrey Dobratz said Southington officers are currently doing cellphone enforcement.