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If 'You're Too Close!' State Police Will Be Right Behind You

Connecticut State Police are targeting tailgaters on the state's highways throughout the month of March.

Patch File Photo
Patch File Photo

A press release from Connecticut State Police:

Connecticut State Police Central District Troopers based at Troops in Bethany, Hartford and Westbrook will initiate a ‘Stop Tailgating, You're Too Close!" project during the month of March. 

This State Police tailgating enforcement project will focus on limited access highways in the greater Hartford, New Haven, Meriden, Middletown and Old Saybrook areas on the following highways: I-84, I-91, I-95, I-691, Routes 8, 9 and 15.

What is tailgating?

Tailgating is defined as a driver following too closely behind another motorist. This is an aggressive driving behavior and the leading cause of injury/non-injury related accidents.

Why tailgating is a problem?

Following too closely, or tailgating, is common, poor driving behavior that can result in dangerous rear-end collisions and easily be mistaken for aggressive driving leading to road rage. A review of State Police Central District accident data collected in 2013 shows that following too closely accounts for the cause in approximately 40% of all accidents within the Central State Police Troop areas. These rear-end collisions are most frequent during weekday commute hours in clear weather and on dry roads.

What does this 'Stop Tailgating, You're Too Close' project hope to accomplish?

The intent of this project is to educate all motorists to maintain a safe following distances, with the goal of voluntary compliance by all drivers to reduce the number of rear-end collision accidents and aggressive driving habits. 

The project will run during the month of March 2014 and will consist of an educational component and then high visibility of Troopers throughout the Central Troop areas to strictly enforce following too close/tailgating violations. 

The Connecticut Department of Transportation will support this ‘Stop Tailgating’ project by posting ‘Tailgating Enforcement Zone’ on overhead message boards along designated areas of these highways to remind motorists of this project. In addition, new technology will be provided by DOT to State Troopers working in this operation.

What is a safe following distance while driving?

Connecticut law states no driver shall follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having regard for the speed of such vehicle, the traffic, the condition of the highway, and weather conditions.

During less than ideal driving conditions or at speeds exceeding 55mph, this time and distance by drivers should increase.

Who are partners in the project?

Connecticut State Police – Troop H, Hartford / Troop I, Bethany / Troop F, Westbrook, Connecticut Department of Transportation - Highway Safety Office.

Connecticut laws related to tailgating 

  • 14-240 Vehicles to be Driven Reasonable Distance Apart
  • 14-240a Vehicles to be Driven Reasonable Distance Apart with Intent to Harass/Intimidate

Each violation carries a fine of $132. Drivers who tailgate will be cited for these moving violations whether or not a rear-end collision occurs.

Objective

Troopers are undertaking this campaign to reduce the number of crashes that take place on central Connecticut roads and highways. This is not a ticket campaign but enforcement action will be taken when violations are observed by Troopers.

"Maintaining a safe following distance is more than being a good driver – it’s the law."

Tmc March 03, 2014 at 11:00 AM
Oh God, how sophomoric can you get Igor? You already lost all credibility by posting how you notice how bad young female drivers are on the road. Really? You equate driving skill with gender? What are you some ignorant old bigot from a 50's movie? Shut up already before you out yourself as something even worse. Gawd...
Igor March 03, 2014 at 02:13 PM
TMC do you even bother to read before you shoot off your mouth. What I said was "I have noticed that the young females have begun to be more aggressive than before. I don't know the reason really. Whether it's because they need to show the boys who is a better driver, or that's there 's more female drivers now, or just a sense of empowerment. Or it could just be my imagination." Where did I say they are bad drivers? Or did you just add that little tid bit yourself? Sophomoric? From the person that doesn't understand maximum. Who think he owns the road, and the hell with everyone else.
Tmc March 03, 2014 at 02:30 PM
Igor, are you really this stupid or is it an act? You specifically target a gender in your post. If you replaced "females" with "black" or "Asian" you'd be showing you're a racist, which u very well could be since you tend to profile people based upon their traits. There's no difference in profiling gender than race; prejudice is prejudice. Why would you even notice that they're young females? Are you some kind of pervert too that ogles them and fantasizes? Ugh, you're getting more and more creepy by the minute!
Igor March 03, 2014 at 04:48 PM
TMC You have some serious mental health issues.
Joeseph Biff March 03, 2014 at 05:10 PM
tmc. You are spewing things from your butt hole again. Where in my post do I say that I assume what you and your pea brain imagine I said about the right lane being" choked" as you put it. Someone must have choked you at one time ,therefore cutting off your oxygen supply long enough to cause serious,permanent brain damage.Maybe it was dear old Grandfather who could no longer tolerate the jibberish and stupidity that emanated from your pie hole. Around the point in which you mention Fairy tales in your childish post is obviously when your meds really started kicking in. Or maybe it's when you should have started taking them? Whatever. You're part of the problem, not the solution. It's so obvious your angst is at a boiling point while you're sitting in your little cave ,gritting your teeth and scratching your perineum as your digits fumble around on the keyboard, and that pea brain I mentioned struggles for something intelligent and witty to say. By the way,I do love the Easter Bunny and all the joy he brings to children. Although the Easter Bunny has nothing to do with the real meaning of Easter, you have mentioned two things so far pertaining to a certain religion. Sad.No place for that here.
Shirley B. Backus March 03, 2014 at 06:56 PM
We seem to have gotten a bit off track here now. Stop the name-calling. The issue is tailgating. Most often caused by speeders, tailgating is one of the most common causes of accidents. The passing lane is not a racetrack on which you can go as fast as you want for as far as you want. Too often, while trying to pass a slow driver in the center lane, a speeder races up behind, right on my bumper, flashing his/her lights for me to get out of the way. Do they see that there is a solid line of tailgaters on the right? No. I suppose I'm supposed to side-swipe somebody to get out of the way! Too many speeders focus only on the car in front of them and are blind to what's around them. The passing lane is for passing - not racing. I have yet to see a separate speed limit sign for the left lane. Are there any police officers or State Troopers reading these comments? Please answer this multiple choice question: To whom do you write up the most traffic tickets? A - Drivers ignoring the posted speed limit, B - Drivers following too closely, or C - Drivers respecting the posted speed limit.
Jill McAllister March 03, 2014 at 07:06 PM
Yes Shirley - I would like to hear from some State Troopers also. Maybe they can set this straight. Unlike others in this thread, I fully respect how they drive and the decisions they have to make.
Tmc March 03, 2014 at 07:11 PM
@Igor; whatever you say....creeper. @Biff; you spelled, "hey Kettle, I'm Pot and you're black" wrong. And Shirley is right, our comments are off topic. sorry Shirley, and I agree with you to some extent about the "going as fast as you want" example. Often when im passing a line of cars, im being tailgated and im thinking to myself "man im doing 75 and it still isn't fast enough for this guy." But do I sit there in front of him? No, I move over and let him go on his way. I'm not in enforcement; that's the cops job, not mine.
Tmc March 03, 2014 at 07:18 PM
And Shirley, if someone races up behind you as you say and starts flashing their lights immediately and there is no place for you to go to the right lane, then yes I agree they are wrong and not you. You shouldn't have to speed up to move over, assuming u were using the lane for passing like you should be. But if you're camping in the left lane and not passing anyone, you should have moved over awhile ago and stayed there doing your speed limit, because if you had, he never would have gotten the chance to come up behind you, no?
Brian C. Duffy March 03, 2014 at 07:44 PM
If someone is tailgating me no matter what lane I'm in….TFB. Two choices: slow down or pass me on the right. 2004 White Civic CT Reg 931*AWP Max speed 66 MPH. Be on the lookout!
Tmc March 03, 2014 at 08:02 PM
66 is 11 over; what's wrong with that? I set my cruise at 65...I pass slower drivers in the left lane like Title 14 dictates....and then return to the right lane; as Title 14 yet again dictates. I don't see the problem here.
Jill McAllister March 03, 2014 at 08:03 PM
I'm going to make a promise here. If everyone were to make the same promise, would things be safer on the highway, and would there be less road rage? I know it sounds like fantasy, but it has to start somewhere. Maybe there would be a positive chain reaction. I promise to not tailgate anyone for any reason. I promise not to pass anyone on their right. I promise to not be in the left lane unless I am passing someone on the right. I promise to be courteous to the person in front of me and to the person attempting to enter the highway. I promise to pretend that the other guy is my mother.
Brian C. Duffy March 03, 2014 at 08:08 PM
66 in 65. 58 in 55. Remember: two choices.
Brian C. Duffy March 03, 2014 at 08:10 PM
Jill, your mother's a guy?
Tmc March 03, 2014 at 08:18 PM
But Jill, you don't have to promise not to pass on the right, because that's the only way around TFB Duffy, you know?
chuck March 03, 2014 at 08:52 PM
I think this subject has "shot it's load."
Jim Braun March 03, 2014 at 09:07 PM
Boy I have been reading the comments here for days. I tend to lean towards science rather than random opinions so I quite honestly have altered my driving habits to observe my surroundings more than I normally do. I will admit that I have been a tailgater more than I would want to admit. I will also admit that I have been in the passenger seat with people that I think are flat out insane when it comes to tailgating (meaning they were worse than I was). The first thing I did after I read this article was do some research. The first thing I stumbled upon was the fact that one car length per 10 mph is obsolete...written when cars had trouble doing 40 mph. Then I learned that insurance companies recommend the 'four second rule'. At 65 mph that equates to 381 feet between you and the car between you. The commonly held thought now in the mainstream is the two second rule which equates to 190 feet at 65 mph, more than three times the car length per 10 mph rule. Defensive driving instructors (which is between the two and is probably the most logical rule to follow) recommend the three second rule which equates to 286 feet at 65 mph. With that data in hand, I drove on a few highways over the last week or two. While adjusting my following distance, the distance I felt most comfortable at turned out to be two seconds. I was on the highway today and gradually increased my distance between the tractor trailer in front of me until I hit three seconds and then four. At three seconds I thought the distance was on the conservative side and at four seconds I thought it was ridiculous. Long story shorter....even based on the two second rule most motorists that think they are following the correct distance are less than the safe following distance. At three seconds anything that happens in front of you is most likely avoidable. At four seconds even if there was a brick wall that suddenly appeared in the middle of the highway almost any motorist could stop before they hit it. Take what you will from my post. I am not a troll or name caller on Patch any more, but I will say that 'defensive driving' is the key to being as safe as you can be. A person that is tailgating is not a defensive driver. Nor is the person that drives in the passing lane at the posted speed limit. Nor is the (excuse me for the rage) complete moron that throws change out his window at tailgaters. This commentary on this article has so very clearly shown why the highways are the way they are. Good luck to you all.
Jim Braun March 03, 2014 at 09:34 PM
Br**n *. D***y, age 55: T*******e, CT J**n T. D**y Chr*******r T. D**y I can go on, and you and anyone else can certainly find me. It doesn't make you strong or better than anyone else or even more right than anyone, but your attitude towards driving is very, very wrong. Wrong to the point where I scratch my head and wonder how anyone can think what you have written is even remotely close to being acceptable. Your White Civic is probably in the left lane no matter what, which actually makes you part of the problem (and a law breaker), not the solution.
Joeseph Biff March 03, 2014 at 10:20 PM
tmc, And you spelled I'm wrong....four times! What does im mean? That's just one example of your many grammatical errors and inability to put together a cohesive sentence.Now who's calling the kettle? Wait a minute........... Is it tmc or THC?
D V March 04, 2014 at 09:00 AM
Here's where pokey drivers and left-lane hogs combine to create accidents - I swear this happened to me just last night. The scenario - 95 in medium-heavy traffic, me in center lane keeping up with traffic at 65mph+/-, coming up on four cars stacked up in right lane behind some slowpoke at <55mph, and a left-lane squatter about 50' behind gaining on me at about 0.001mph. Naturally, I figure, one of these four in the conga line is gonna get impatient and want to overtake Methuselah (or shall I call him Igor?) while I'm pinned by Captain Oblivious (hey, Shirley, was that you?) to my left, unless I have to cut left in from of him, when -- sure enough -- some dope who evidently restricts their rear-view mirror usage to applying cosmetics drifts left into my path. Having already sussed the situation, I follow Evasive Maneuver A and cut left - signaling, of course - about, oh, say a couple-maybe-three cars lengths in front of Captain O, who immediately takes umbrage, of course, flashing lights and all (nuts to you, fella). Boring story, I know, BUT - I'm drawing a diagram here for those who require it. Had I not been so deliberately prescient about how the scene was going to play <pats self on back>, then there would've been the makings of an accident precisely along the lines of what I've been arguing - and with NO TAILGATING OR EXCESSIVE SPEEDING INVOLVED. Lesson One: Even in the right lane, if you're not driving at a speed reasonable under the totality of the circumstances, then you're creating a hazard, even when that reasonable speed is in excess of 55mhp. Lesson Two: If your experience is that other drivers frequently "zoom up" on your rear or mercilessly cut in front of you while in the third lane, then you are spending entirely too much time there.
Frank March 04, 2014 at 12:55 PM
Having seen the too close drivers far too many times it is time to take these drivers off the roads.
Igor March 04, 2014 at 01:04 PM
Dv so I'm the bad guy for going slightly over the speed limit? Let me know when you're driving and we can all stay off the road so you can be king. You're already over the speed limit (if you're in a 55 mph zone). How much faster do you want to go? I know, you don't want to miss Wheel of Fortune
Brian C. Duffy March 04, 2014 at 04:32 PM
Full disclosure here: I don't consistently use the left lane. Not because of tailgaters…they can go pound. I'm paranoid of an oncoming vehicle hurtling through the narrow median and hitting me head on. I believe the common term for it is sudden death. However, on more rural stretches of interstate with wide wooden swaths of median, I'll tend to camp in the left and slow down the speeders. Have J*m Br**n mail me a ticket.
Brian C. Duffy March 04, 2014 at 04:35 PM
"….wide, wooded swaths"
Shirley B. Backus March 04, 2014 at 11:07 PM
I try to stay out of the left lane entirely whenever possible. In fact, I try to stay off the Turnpike as much as possible. The speeders are just too dangerous and make me very nervous. When in the left lane, I get out as soon as possible. I much prefer to take my chances with the slow pokes in the right lane, and the drivers getting on who can't seem to locate their accelerator pedals. Sometimes, however, I just have to pass them in order to get out of the way from somebody who's speeding behind me and showing no signs of slowing down in the right or middle lane. I still believe that the speed limit is posted at 55, and passing should be limited to 65 or so only for a limited time. Those who use the left lane as their own personal race track need to collect tickets until they learn how to drive. Tailgating and flashing lights can make a driver panic into swerving out of their way. That's what causes accidents and increases everybody's insurance rates. Please slow down, stop tailgating, stop flashing lights, be patient. Nobody's perfect. Everybody makes mistakes. When you get angry at somebody else's driving, take a deep breath, slow down and forgive them. They may not always drive like that. You have no way of knowing what's going on in their mind. There's no need for all this name-calling.
D V March 05, 2014 at 08:09 AM
Let's not be so hyperdefensive, Igor! I'm not saying you're being obtuse deliberately, and I can't say that being the pedant that you are, burdened by a slavish, perhaps even perverse compulsion to submit to the authority of the State (or whoever) is what makes you a bad person. I'm just saying it makes you a bad driver, that's all. So lighten up, cupcake. Oh, and it's definitely Judge Wopner I can't miss, not Wheel of Fortune. Definitely Judge Wopner. Shirley, I've been driving 95 and 15 twice every workday for I-hate-to-say-how-many years, and I very, very rarely have observed the bad behavior you're describing. Y'know, I have a very good friend who will actually - I kid you not - only drive on the thruway in the right lane at 45mph with her hazard lights flashing all the way. Now, that's pretty extreme behavior, but it stems from the same lack of confidence in her skills and irrational fear of all the other "crazy" drivers on the road. I've suggested to her that taking the Post Road exclusively would be less stressful for all concerned, and wonder if the same might not be good advice for you.
Tmc March 05, 2014 at 10:49 PM
@D V; I lol'd...HARD! @Jim Braun; You're spot on with your posts man. You nailed it perfectly. Bravo! If more drivers understood the way you do, the roads would be a much better place to spend time on.
Tmc March 05, 2014 at 10:59 PM
Yes Kacey it will stop. Along with them being allowed to hold a cell phone while driving. And being allowed to park anywhere they want. And then it will rain gold dust and money trees will sprout up everywhere...
Igor March 06, 2014 at 07:09 AM
It's not my skills I'm worried about, it's the other driver's skills. The driver who thinks his skills are better than they actually are. You can tell those. The ones that weave in and out of traffic missing your bumper by 6 inches. I also have driven I95 for over 35 years, and I have seen more than I care too. Some I get pissed off, and sometimes I can't help laugh at some of the bonehead moves. Well whichever a person drive I hope they arrive home safely.
Laura March 06, 2014 at 10:26 AM
Are we done with this discussion yet? I hate tailgaters, I drive over the speed limit (about 10 mph) and I stay off I95 & the Merritt...I do not talk on the phone while driving either - I figure my JOB at that moment is driving...and watching for crazies out there WHO DON'T CARE...

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