A crackdown on aggressive drivers in Fort Worth has helped reduce the number of deadly accidents involving big rigs by 40 percent this year, police say.
As part of the Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks program, officers look for aggressive truck drivers and car drivers who pose a risk around tractor-trailers.
So far this year, four people have died in Fort Worth in crashes involving 18-wheelers. Last year at this time, the number was seven.
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"We're never happy about a fatality, but we are happy that the number seems to be declining," said Officer Robert Mills, who works on the TACT program, which is funded by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Mills and other officers have written nearly 2,000 tickets since May for things such as speeding, following too closely and unsafe lane changes.
More car drivers get tickets than big truck drivers, he said. Since May, officers have written 1,700 citations to drivers of passenger vehicles for speeding and other violations around big trucks. Only 260 tickets were given to truck and bus drivers.
Mills said he hopes drivers get the message to keep their distance from big trucks.
"Large commercial vehicles accelerate, they decelerate differently, they change lanes differently, they have blind spots, so we're just trying to educate the public a little bit," Mills said.
Other departments in North Texas involved in the effort include Arlington, Grand Prairie, Mansfield, Burleson, North Richland Hills, Grapevine, Lewisville and the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Mills said he understands the goal of zero fatalities may not be realistic and that the declining numbers could quickly go back up.
"Anything at any time can happen, but we really believe that, through our combined efforts, we have made a difference," he said.