Local Police Address Reckless Driving, Racing

Screengrab of cars racing at high speed on a highway | Image by Adam DiDonato

At a Tuesday briefing, police demonstrated how Fort Worth Police Department’s traffic enforcement unit has been cracking down on speeding violations over the last several months by issuing nearly 13,000 citations.

Fort Worth PD’s Assistant Chief Robert Allredge presented an informal report during a briefing on May 2 for Fort Worth City Council members, according to NBC 5.

Allredge focused on problems related to speeding, street racing, and street takeovers that are affecting Fort Worth.

Beyond being a general nuisance, street takeovers pose several risks to public safety.

As The Dallas Express reported, an illegal street takeover in Fort Worth killed two people at University Drive near West 7th Street and White Settlement Road in late January. Several cars were performing stunts when police arrived. One car crashed while attempting to evade officers, killing two of the four individuals inside.

Speaking to city officials, Allredge noted that of the almost 13,000 citations issued, approximately 1,700 had been made in Fort Worth’s school zones, according to NBC 5.

School zone speeds are established for the safety of children, yet in 2017, the Texas Department of Transportation logged 811 crashes in school zones resulting in 30 serious injuries and two deaths.

In an effort to modify driving behaviors and prevent harm to Fort Worth residents, Allredge explained that local police placed radar trailers and vacant patrol cars in areas seeing a high amount of traffic and frequent reports of reckless driving, according to NBC 5.

By doing so, police can monitor these areas and attempt to calm dangerous driving behaviors. Fort Worth Public Works has also engaged in measures to the fight against speeding since last March.

Its Neighborhood Traffic Calming program allows residents and neighborhoods to request the installation of countermeasures like speed cushions to slow car speeds.

One neighborhood expected to soon have new speed cushions installed by Fort Worth Public Works is Carter Riverside.

Naomi Dillard, who lives along Primrose Avenue between Gwynne Street and Eagle Drive, told NBC 5 that she contacted the city about speeding problems that are plaguing her neighborhood.

“It’s a beautiful street. We have wonderful neighbors, but the quality of life is just taken away from us with all these young speeders,” Dillard explained. “It’s very dangerous … We have noticed people trying to walk and the car’s trying to go.”

As The Dallas Express reported, a pedestrian was struck by a car and killed in mid-March as he was crossing at the intersection of the northbound lanes of Miller Avenue and Avenue J in Fort Worth.

The city is fourth on the list of traffic fatalities among major cities between 2015 and 2019, with Dallas ranked higher at second place, as The Dallas Express reported.

While increasing police presence, installing speed cushions, and lowering speed limits might help mitigate the issue of speeding, during the briefing Allredge noted the complexity of battling street racing and street takeovers, according to NBC 5.

These events can occur either spontaneously or as well-organized affairs.

As such, one of the difficulties in addressing these issues is that street racers often use social media to coordinate their activities, which can be challenging to track.

“We usually only get about 15, 20 minutes notice before they kind of pop up,” Allredge explained. “Sometimes we don’t get any notice until citizens start calling in saying, ‘hey, this event has happened.'”

Alongside collaborating with a Dallas task force on street racing and intelligence gathering, Fort Worth PD has adopted a range of other strategies to crack down on these events.

These tactics include setting up pole cameras in identified hot spots, employing mobile speed radar and license plate reader trailers, and monitoring social media platforms that are known to be popular among street racers.

As The Dallas Express reported, the gravity of illegal street takeovers has landed it on the state level, with Texas Governor Greg Abbott announcing a DPS task force that will aim to stop them.

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