FORT WAYNE — Area state police troopers are beefing up efforts to help reduce the number of crashes that occur on state highways in Allen and Whitley counties.
According to Ron Galaviz, public information officer for the Fort Wayne post of the Indiana State Police, the department is instituting a new “crash reduction effort,” spearheaded by ISP Sgt. Mike Yordy.
The program is “intended to not only change the driving behaviors of the motoring public, but to reduce the overall numbers of crashes, injuries and fatalities,” said Galaviz in a press release.
According to Galaviz, Yordy is hoping to solicit voluntary compliance of traffic laws.
Yordy’s plan will involve the use of Mustangs, Chargers, unmarked patrol vehicles, and as the weather improves, motorcycle units, Galaviz said.
“Assistance from local and county agencies will be sought out as well,” added Galaviz.
“Particular emphasis will be placed on commercial motor vehicle traffic and their violations of state and federal laws by troopers who are federally certified to enforce the various federal regulations governing their operation on the roadway.”
Locally, Whitley County Sheriff Mark Hodges, while supportive of the program, expressed concern about the effort’s drain on manpower.
“While the effort to reduce accidents and garner voluntary compliance of our traffic laws is a noble goal, the idea to concentrate efforts in a certain location by assigning a multitude of officers dates back to the 1980s when I was a young Indiana State Trooper,” Hodges said.
“The plan is great, as is the goal. In my opinion, there is a lack of sufficient police personnel to continually patrol the highways in Whitley and Allen counties, including U.S. 30 by ISP and deputies from this department.”
Despite misgivings, Hodges said he would give the program his support.
“The Whitley County Sheriff’s Department will do what we can to assist and participate in this effort,” he said.
Galaviz said there were 227 vehicle crashes on U.S. 30 in 2010 which injured 67 people and killed two.
“Of that total, 53 of the crashes reported involved commercial motor vehicles,” he said.
“Statistics also showed that the majority of the crashes occurred between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.”
According to Fort Wayne District Commander Lt. Tony Casto, motorists “are an instrumental piece of our crash reduction efforts and they can help by continuing to monitor and alter their driving behaviors according to the weather, existing traffic conditions and their own driving abilities.
“By working together, we can make our roadways safer places for everyone,” said Casto.