Indiana Police launches initiative to reduce accidents
Posted: 06/26/2012 at 1:15 am
By: Sharon Hernandez
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Sgt. Ryan Lebo, from the Indiana State Police, talks about what his daily routine as a patrol officer will look like as part of the crash reduction enforcement program. The initiative is a collaboration of state and local law enforcement agencies to reduce road accidents through extra patrols. (Truth Photo By Sharon Hernandez)
The ISP launched its crash reduction enforcement program Monday, an initiative that will bring efforts from all other law enforcement agencies to concentrate patrols on areas considered the most dangerous for traffic in the state. In Elkhart County, some of the roads where the ISP has seen more accidents are U.S. 6 and C.R. 20. Sgt. Trent Smith, public information officer for the ISP, said a higher concentration of patrols will be added to areas that have deemed dangerous based on the number of accident reports and fatalities filed through its database in the last few years.
Civilian cars, as well as trucks that look like they’re from the Indiana Transportation Department, will be some of the vehicles making patrols on a daily basis. An airplane and more ISP motorcycles will be used at times as well. The patrols will last long enough to ensure the number of accidents is reduced, and the locations of the patrols will vary depending on where most violations happen.
Smith said the ISP program will use reallocated funds, while other local agencies will use federal grants.
The goal, Smith said, is to get more “voluntary compliance” from drivers when they see law enforcement vehicles.
“If people know police are out there they will be more careful,” he said. “It’s not about writing more tickets.”
Sgt. Ryan Lebo, one of the officers who will work extra hours patrolling designated areas, said his duty will be to not only enforce the law, but also to check weather conditions and evaluate other factors if there is an accident on the area of his patrol.
Lebo, who has worked for 12 years for the ISP, said the two things he sees drivers doing the most is speeding and driving too close behind another vehicle, both considered serious violations.
“In 12 years I’ve seen a shift in people’s focus on the roads, they’re always in such a big hurry to get wherever they’re at,” he said. “People lose focus on their driving habits, they are more concerned on getting somewhere because they are always under a time crunch.”
According to a statement from the ISP, the four factors that result in accidents that often involve deaths are:
• Driving off the right edge of the road
• Failure to yield the right of way and disregard traffic signals
• Unsafe speed
• Driving left of the center
For Lebo, it’s all about saving lives.
“If the state can have a small portion of an effective reduction in those numbers, then absolutely it’s well worth it,” he said. “If we can save one life, then our efforts were well worth the time and everything put into it.”