The Pennsylvania State Police is using computer software to help target highway enforcement to high-accident areas, thus reducing crashes and saving lives.
Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell (D) highlighted the use of “Problem Specific Policing” in combination with PROphecy software by the state’s highway patrol in accepting an award from the U.S. Department of Transportation for reducing highway fatalities. The Keystone State was one of only nine states recognized nationwide for cutting highway deaths, noted Rendell.
“Pennsylvania is using this program to save lives,” said Rendell. “It has helped State Police cut fatal crashes by a remarkable 7% between 2002 and 2004. State Police commanders are using this computer software to quickly identify problem areas and deploy troopers to target dangerous driving behaviors. The result is fewer fatal crashes.”
Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller said that under the Problem Specific Policing approach, troopers use the global positioning systems in their vehicles and PROphecy mapping software to locate and then categorize traffic crashes.
“The maps pinpoint trouble spots by time, day of the week and location,” he said. “The data helps our commanders assign personnel when and where they are needed. Also, troopers hit the roads knowing what driving behaviors - such as speeding, drunken driving or tailgating - are causing the problems.”
Miller said State Police began using the PROphecy program in May 2003 and the number of fatal crashes it investigated dropped from 744 in 2002 to 689 in 2004.
“I'm hopeful that the number will drop again this year,” he said. “The Problem Specific Policing approach to traffic safety is based on the premise that we can prevent crashes by using timely data to attack the root causes of those crashes.”