ARLINGTON (CBS) – The Arlington Police Department has launched a new hotline for drivers to report road rage.
The hotline is not, however a replacement for 911. Motorists finding themselves involved in an in-progress incident with an aggressive driver should still contact 911.
The telephone number for the road rage hotline is 817.459.5389.
Possible perpetrators, identified through the hotline, will receive a letter in the mail informing them of the report and reminding them to keep calm while driving.
“When you get involved with a road rage incident, no one can predict the outcome,” said Sgt. Vanessa Harrison.
The Arlington Police Department had a road rage hotline in the early 2000’s but the program was discontinued in 2008 after calls quit coming into the hotline. “We hope to use this hotline as an additional tool to deter and report aggressive drivers in addition to our enforcement efforts,” said Lt. Jeff Pugh who commands the Traffic Unit.
“We believe that there has been an increase in the frequency and severity of road rage type incidents on our area freeways. We will not tolerate driving behaviors that put the motoring public in danger and will deal with other criminal acts that occur in conjunction with aggressive driving.”
The department launched an aggressive driving task force after Arlington police say a driver shot and killed Dylan Spaid, 19, after investigators believe the teen cut him off in traffic. Still unsolved, the murder has prompted police to prioritize road rage cases.
“We’ve had motorists run off the freeway to teach them a lesson,” said Lt. Chris Cook.
In the last month, an operation using undercover officers to spot road rage related crimes has led to 464 traffic stops, 574 citations, and 7 arrests. The hotline will work differently, in most cases offering just a warning. A recording prompts callers to leave the time, date, and location of the incident, a license plate number of the vehicle involved, and a description of the vehicle and its owner. Police will then try to identify the owner of the car and send them a letter in the mail.
“There’s no criminal enforcement that we anticipate. However if we do receive information that could lead to a criminal investigation, we’ll be sure to follow up on it,” said Harrison.
Task force officers work in covert capacities as well as marked units to detect, apprehend and enforce laws on roadways within the confines of the city of Arlington. They look for aggressive drivers including excessive speeding, tailgating, unsafe lane changes, driving on improved shoulders to pass traffic, throwing objects at vehicles, brandishing weapons and other unsafe behaviors that can lead to road rage style incidents.
“Our goal is to ensure citizens are safe while traveling on our freeways,” said Police Chief Will Johnson. “There is absolutely no reason why someone should engage in aggressive driving behaviors that can lead to violence resulting in unnecessary injuries or even death.”