by Aimee Levitt
In an effort to cut down on the number of traffic accidents, nine local law enforcement agencies have formed a high enforcement action team to patrol I-270 more closely this summer. They'll be paying special attention to speeders, tailgaters and non-seatbelt-wearers.
High enforcement action team? Well, it makes more sense as an acronym: HEAT. It's the brainchild of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, which also sponsors a program called ICE (In Case of Emergency). HEAT started last year when members of the coalition noticed that summer was the high season for traffic fatalities. They concentrated their efforts on I-44 and I-70, but, based on records from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, there was not a marked decrease in the number of crashes between the summers of 2008 and 2009.
Nonetheless, police officers from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the St. Louis County police and the Bridgeton, Creve Coeur, Ferguson, Florissant, Hazelwood, Maryland Heights and Town and Country police departments will start their extra patrols next Monday, June 21, and continue until September 21.
Says the press release from the St. Louis County Police Department:
A study of accident statistics from 2009 revealed there were nearly 1,700 traffic crashes on I-270. The factors involved in causing many of those accidents were hazardous moving violations such as following too close, driving too fast for conditions, failing to yield and excessive speeds. The H.E.A.T. campaign will focus on the times and days where hazardous moving violations are most prevalent and enforcement can be most useful.
The Missouri Highway Safety Division will be paying the officers' overtime from money from traffic safety grants.
As a special treat, HEAT will do a special two-day patrol of I-70 next Friday and Saturday, June 25 and 26, and I-44 on September 19 and 20.