Tuesday, January 6, 2004
Carmel on the Case: Agressive Drivers
Call it road rage -- or simply overly offensive driving -- the streets of South Florida can be dangerous indeed. And that's why the Florida Highway Patrol has developed a new weapon for the New Year in the war against aggressive drivers. And tonight, we're getting a first look at it -- in action. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the road and - "On The Case."
(WSVN) -- There are more drivers on the road these days than ever before.
And many have become so aggressive behind the wheel - they're killing people.
Carmel Cafiero: "How fast is he going?"
Trooper Sean Brammer: "80 miles an hour and we're increasing."From a need for speed...
Trooper Sean Brammer: "And he's like sitting on this guy's bumper right now."
To weaving in and out of traffic...
Trooper Sean Brammer: "There he goes again."
Carmel Cafiero: "So that's three lane changes in ten seconds?"
Trooper Sean Brammer: "Ten seconds."
This kind of aggressive driving is believed to be responsible for more than half of all traffic fatalities.
Lt. Bill Ferrell ofFlorida Highway Patrol: "It's something that we've taken seriously over the years, and we've gotten to the point now where it's time to do something different - so we have a little surprise for everybody."
Troopers in Broward County will soon be behind the wheels of some hot, new undercover cars.
They'll be unveiled later this week...but we have a sneak peek.They've got motors with lots of muscle... and on the road appear to be quite invisible.
Trooper Sean Brammer: "See, like he's getting real impatient. See he's making that lane change. He's probably gonna pick up speed here in a little bit."
We rode along with trooper Brammer, as he took one of the new stealth vehicles out for the first time.
Trooper Sean Brammer: "With this, it just looks like a regular car, and they just keep going."
No one ever had a clue who was watching.
Trooper Sean Brammer: "OK, see this guy right here? Look at him."
Carmel Cafiero: "Oh, yeah."
Trooper Sean Brammer: "I guarantee he is going to try to cut in between this other car. There he goes. Speeding. There he goes again."
Carmel Cafiero: "Oh, my."
Trooper Sean Brammer: "See? And then he cut this lady off, she had to hit her brakes. And he's still on the back of that car. See, he's gone again!"
Carmel Cafiero: "This is the classic aggressive driver?"
Trooper Sean Brammer: "He's done everything you can think of right here."
Carmel Cafiero: "I'd like to know why you were driving like that?"
Driver Lesly Louis: "I'm headed to Port St. Lucie, I don't live here, and I was trying to get home."
Carmel Cafiero: "But, don't you realize you jeopardize all the people on the road around you?"
Lesly Louis: "Yeah - but I - yeah - I shouldn't have done it."
Carmel Cafiero: "To give you some idea about just how many aggressive drivers there are out here - consider this: Trooper Brammer stopped and ticketed bad drivers, roughly -- every five minutes."
Trooper Sean Brammer: "The reason why I stopped you, you're speeding at 80 miles an hour, and you're cutting in and out of traffic in short bursts and that can cause an accident."
This driver from Orlando admits he is "probably" an aggressive driver.
Others, however, would not describe themselves that way.
Carmel Cafiero: "Do you normally drive like that?"
Driver John Lantz: "No, just today."
He was having a bad day.
They're from out of town and lost.
He was in a hurry.
She was just keeping up with traffic.
And he was listening to music.
Trooper Sean Brammer: "That will be a hundred and seventy-one dollars."
The troopers hope the aggressive driving tickets and increased enforcement will encourage all of us - to take a new - and more relaxed and courteous approach to driving - in the new year.
Don't forget, if there's something you think Carmel should investigate... give her a call...