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Highway patrol targets aggressive drivers

by Merrie Leininger

The Nevada Highway Patrol wants people to drive safely, and so troopers are introducing incentives for behaving on the road.

Within the next month, the area will be introduced to the ADAPT car, said Trooper Jeff Bowers.

ADAPT stands for Aggressive Driver Apprehension Program Team and is an unmarked car, driven by a trooper. The idea is that other drivers behave themselves when a police car is around, but a trooper in an unmarked car will have more opportunities to catch aggressive drivers.

“The trooper observes aggressive driving or other hazardous moving violations and he radios to a marked patrol unit to stop him,” Bowers said.

Sgt. Phil Shemick, who is stationed in the Minden office, said road rage is not a big problem in this area, but he does get some complaints, and just last week someone reported a man brandished a gun at him while the motorist was driving on Highway 395.

The section of that highway from Minden to Indian Hills is where NHP gets the most complaints, Shemick said, so officials will probably focus their attention with the ADAPT car there. He said troopers might also use the vehicle on Kingsbury Grade.

The white 1995 Chevy has been given a few distinctive features such as pin striping and mag wheels. It also has a video camera and police radio inside.

“It’s not hard to spot,” Shemick said. “Our goal is not to write a lot of tickets, but voluntary compliance with the law. The more the public knows about it, the better off we are.”

n Speeders. In an attempt to have drivers slow down, especially on Highway 395 south of Gardnerville, the NHP airplane will again be patrolling from above.

After an extended absence, the airplane will be flying over Highway 395 in March.

“The aircraft program has been off and on,” Bowers said. “Its performance is hindered by the weather and we haven’t been able to get it up lately.”

The person in the plane times how long it takes a driver to get from one mark to another, and a computer calculates how fast the car is going, Shemick said. Twelve-inch long white stripes will be painted along the highway about 1/4-mile apart.

Shemick said the marks have been painted in two areas near Holbrook Junction and about 2/3- mile north.

“There are always very high speeds in that area, about 80 to 85 mph, and in one area, in the south-bound lane, people tend to pass illegally. It’s a problem out there,” Shemick said.