One of the best ways you can avoid a vehicle accident is to avoid driving too closely behind the car in front of you -- a major reason for accidents in Connecticut, according to state police.
This month, as state police step up an enforcement campaign to spot and ticket "tailgating" drivers on state highways, troopers have so far handed out 182 tickets and 24 warnings in the central part of the state.
Connecticut State Police Central District Troopers based at Troops in Bethany, Hartford and Westbrook are looking for drivers following too closely in a law enforcement project police are calling "Stop Tailgating, You're Too Close!"
State police recommend that you follow the "three-second rule" for driving behind other vehicles. See more on that, below.
Here's a compilation of quotes from two recent State Police news releases about tailgating, the enforcement project and what advice police have for safe driving:
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.
Nationally, the three-second rule is recognized for passenger cars and light duty trucks traveling in ideal conditions. When the back-end of the vehicle ahead of you passes a fixed object, you count how long it takes you to pass this same object – one one/ thousand, two one/thousand, three one/thousand.
During less than ideal driving conditions or at speeds exceeding 55mph this time and distance should increase accordingly.
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.
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."