The California Highway Patrol is embarking on a massive campaign to address problems with aggressive driving and speeding in all of California. Their new program, “Reduce Aggressive Driving Incidents and Tactically Enforce Speed,” began this month and continues through September of 2013. The CHP is using funds for the program provided by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Statistical data from the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System for 2010 shows there were more than 132,000 collisions where speed was the major contributing cause of the crash. These speed-related crashes resulted in the deaths of 435 people and injured almost 72,000 others.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a very strict definition of aggressive driving. They view aggressive driving as “when individuals commit a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.” That means if you are changing lanes repeatedly or abruptly; speeding or slowing; or generally driving like an idiot, you are running afoul of laws against aggressive driving.

California, with more than 22 million drivers on the road today, frowns on aggressive driving for the simple fact that if all those drivers were to stop caring about the safety of everyone they share the road with, things would get bad-real bad, in a hurry.

By focusing specifically on aggressive driving and speeding the California Highway Patrol is getting right at the root of the problem. They have identified the cause of nearly every serious vehicle collision and are directly their efforts there. This will likely result in tickets for hundreds or even thousands of drivers who have failed to recognize their driving behavior is causing a hazard on the road. In the long run it seems likely that defensive drivers will be unaffected by the new campaign, but everyone else, well, they’ likely get what they deserve.