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Manlius: Statistics, safety fuel aggressive driving crackdown

Drivers with aggressive traits beware -- the town of Manlius Police Department want you to be safe.

In an effort to reduce personal injury accidents in the town, Manlius is conducting an information and enforcement campaign geared toward awareness, not revenue.

"Our goal is not to write tickets," says Manlius Police Captain Jason Cassalia. "The goal is to willingly gain the cooperation of residents to drive their vehicles safely and securely, and assure that they reach their destination safely."

The police department's plan is to saturate high-risk areas with police officers that will be on the lookout for "aggressive driving traits" such as travelling above the speed limit, driving erratically, following too closely, and failing to yield the right-of-way.

"It's about education," Cassalia said. "People need to be reminded from time to time that bad things can happen when they're behind the wheel of a vehicle. These are things you may forget when you get caught up in your day-to-day life."

The agency has identified New York State Route 298, North Manlius Road, Kirkville Road, and Fremont Road as "targeted enforcement zones." Officers will be out in full force to ensure drivers comply with traffic laws.

The decision to target the above-mentioned roads was made after the department poured over statistical information such as crash data, complaints from neighbors and drivers, and their own personal experiences in the village.

In cooperation with the New York State Department of Transportation, large electronic signs have been placed at the intersections of Route 298 at Minoa Schepps Corners Road, and Kirkville Road and Fremont Road to inform motorists of the heightened enforcement and to gain their "willing compliance to operate safely."

Cassalia has also been on the news and several other media outlets informing people of the crackdown.

"We let people know ahead of time, we want to educate," Cassalia said. "Even after the signs have been up for a week and after the TV interviews and newspaper coverage, we still have to write people tickets. You'd be surprised over the amount of tickets we have to write."

The department was able to decrease its personal injury rate by 30 percent last year, thanks in part to crackdowns like this. The crash data shows that accidents on average are not very common in the village compared to the state average, according to Cassalia.

"Our success is based on a reduction of crashes and injuries," said Cassalia. "Predictable is preventable."

The enforcement campaign runs through Aug. 18.

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