Law enforcement will be patrolling around the city in force this week to raise awareness and prevent reckless driving.
City of Delaware Police Chief Bruce Pijanowski and Ohio State Highway Patrol Post Commander Lieutenant Marcus Pirrone said Monday that the increased presence comes after 2016 broke the record for traffic fatalities.
“We are always trying to do things differently,” Pijanowski said. “Trying to make the roads safer and community safer. We are going to cover all the high crash areas with the hopes of raising awareness and slowing people down.”
Pijanowski said for the next week police, Delaware County Sheriff’s Deputies, K9 units, the Delaware County Drug Task Force OSHP troopers, the OSHP Motorcycle Unit, the OSHP Aviation Unit and the OSHP Scale Team will all patrol in and around Delaware to enforce speed and prevent reckless driving.
The goal is not to write tickets, Pijanowski and Pirrone said.
“If we get to the end of the week and have not a lot of tickets that would be great,” Pijanowski said. “The goal isn’t to write tickets, the goal isn’t to make money, [the goal] is to reduce aggressive driving, reduce speed, raise attention, raise awareness and make the motoring public safer.”
Pirrone said usually state troopers don’t patrol around the city because those areas are covered by Delaware police and sheriff’s deputies. But he said that something has to change and the highway patrol is glad to assist the city.
“Our goal this week is to change behavior,” Pirrone said. “Hopefully this week changes behavior for the next three weeks because we’ll be back. You can’t do one-and-done, that’s not going to change behavior. We are going to keep doing it every month until we see changes in crashes and fatalities. If we didn’t write any tickets that’d be great, but we have to change behavior somehow.”
Pirrone said aggressive driving is one of their targets.
“Speed is aggressive driving,” Pirrone said. “Tailgating is aggressive driving, racing to the end of a merge is aggressive driving, running a red light is aggressive driving.”
Pijanowski cautioned that in addition to being dangerous, crashes have huge economic impacts. Medical expenses, property damage, wasting gas sitting in traffic, can all be avoided by slowing down and avoiding reckless behavior, he said.
“Everyone is in such a rush; everyone slow down,” Pijanowski. “Give yourself a little more time. Things do happen on the road. It’s OK, just back off. You don’t have to gesture or scream if someone cuts you off. Take it down a notch, give ourselves more time and we’ll all be a lot happier and a lot safer.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.