ARLINGTON (CBS11) -The murder of a 19-year-old driver has inspired a new police task force in Arlington, that’s going undercover to target road rage.
The operation launched Thursday, just miles from the spot where Dylan Spaid was shot and killed last week.
Arlington Lt. Chris Cook says police get frequent reports of angry drivers.
“Rolling the window down, giving a hand gesture that’s inappropriate, honking the horn,” he said, listing the easily identifiable signs.
While throwing up your middle finger is legal, he said it’s often connected to behavior that’s not – whether it’s speeding, tailgating or weaving.
“We’ve had motorists run off the freeway to ‘teach them a lesson’,” said Lt. Cook.
The police department is using unmarked police cars, each with one undercover officer behind the wheel and another in the passenger seat on the lookout for aggressive driving.
The pair communicate details to squad cars ahead, waiting to pull drivers over.
In an hour and a half Thursday, they made 24 traffic stops and wrote 25 citations.
“A couple violations of aggressive tailgating where they were doing 80 – 90 miles an hour with three feet off the bumper from the car in front of them,” said Lt. Cook.
Last year, officers blamed road rage for 34 crashes in Arlington, several very close to where Spaid died.
“This is a real danger and it can really lead to serious consequences and injuries,” said Lt. Cook.
Police plan to keep up the operation, focusing mainly on rush hour, when tempers are most liked to flare.
Police suggest if you’re dealing with an angry driver, slow down and change lanes to try to create some distance.
If that doesn’t work, call 911.
Officers warn against engaging the driver in any way, because even an attempt to apologize or settle differences could cause the situation to escalate.