It was a busy morning on the shoulders of I-30 westbound Tuesday. Videos and pictures taken between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. show car after car pulled over by Arlington Police in between Fielder and Eastchase.
"During that time frame, we made 44 traffic stops, issued 49 citations and made one arrest for multiple misdemeanor warrants," says Lt. Jeffrey Pugh.
They're not doing it to be mean-spirited. They're doing it to change behavior. "The freeways are out of control," Pugh says.
Pugh is overseeing "Operation Freeway Safety," a police saturation of Arlington's highways. They're looking for aggressive driving, including speeding. It's a behavior they say can lead to road rage. Since July, they've made major marks on I-20, Highway 360 and now I-30.
"1,476 traffic stops, 1,842 traffic citations issued and 18 arrests made," Pugh lists the statistics. He also says 98 people have called the road rage hotline.
The operation launched this summer after 19-year-old Dylan Spaid was fatally shot by another driver on I-20. His killer has not been found. After that, many called for more police presence on highways.
(Reporter note: I was one of the people on I-30 who saw the enforcement happening. At one point I saw about 10 police officers who’d all pulled someone over one after another after another—in between Fielder and Eastchase. I told Lt. Pugh I'd never seen anything like it before, and he said: that's the point.)
"One of the reasons we do team enforcement is to have that psychological impact on all the other people that was driving by," Pugh says.
In fact, Pugh says in the two months, his team patrolled I-20 for speeders and aggressive driving, they saw a decrease in bad behavior. Speeds dropped, too.
"As long as I'm the traffic lieutenant, we will continue to do team enforcements at least four times a week," he says until behavior changes for good.