Police targeting unsafe driving along Highway 20 - East Idaho News

Police targeting unsafe driving along Highway 20

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IDAHO FALLS — Idaho State Police and local law enforcement agencies are taking a stand against aggressive and other bad driving habits to make eastern Idaho’s roads safer.

Through an “emphasis patrol,” ISP is inviting all local law enforcement to Thursday and Friday’s targeted approach Thursday and to remind drivers of the importance of following traffic laws. The patrol will specifically target U.S. Highway 20 after an abundance of complaints from other drivers.

“(The patrol) is to reeducate and to try to get compliance from our commute travelers to slow down and drive reasonable,” ISP Lt. Marvin Crain said. “The ultimate goal is safety of our commute traffic and our travelers on our highways. We want to change behavior.”

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To help in the effort, ISP is bringing in additional motorcycle troopers and teaming up with local sheriff’s offices and police departments to target those breaking the laws of the road. Distracted, aggressive and inattentive driving is happening year-round and leading to fatalities, according to troopers.

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With Idaho Transportation Data showing Highway 20 sees about 30,000 drivers a day going between Idaho Falls and Rexburg, troopers say excessive speeders are a daily occurrence. Speeding has contributed to one-third of fatal crashes for more than two decades, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“With the amount of traffic we are having on our highways now, the distance between each vehicle has been lessened, so the faster you go, your time (for) reaction has been lessened,” Crain said. “Not only that, but the number of distracted drivers we have at this time when you add the speed variable into that — it’s just a recipe for disaster.”

Leading up to emphasis patrol, EastIdahoNews.com rode along with a trooper for 30 minutes near Idaho Falls and witnessed multiple aggressive and speeding drivers. One driver even passed a marked patrol car at 90 mph in the 70 mph zone.

“Don’t speed,” the driver said after getting a $90 ticket. “Try to focus on your speed … especially when there is a cop right in front of you.”

Drivers can report unsafe driving practices of others by calling ISP’s dispatch line at (208) 528-3408 or by dialing *477. Everything from aggressive driving to suspected DUIs is reportable.