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Baltimore racing officials discourage aggressive driving

A need for speed is something nearly every driver probably feels on occasion. Of course, such rashness on the road can lead to car accidents and life-changing personal injuries. That's not something anyone wants, but it does happen.

In Maryland, the state has what it calls the Smooth Operator Program. The aim of this initiative is to try to put the brakes on some overzealous drivers. And on Sunday, for the third time this summer, police across the state will be on the lookout for speeders.

In Baltimore the effort is taking a unique approach. Authorities are partnering with the Baltimore Grand Prix to get the message across. Professional drivers like 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner Scott Dixon are spreading the word that what they do on the race course is not something we should be doing on our freeways and county roads.

As Dixon points out, there really is no comparison between what he does behind the wheel of his high performance vehicle and what takes place on our streets, avenues and boulevards. Amateurs owe it to themselves and others to stick to the speed limit.

Federal statistics show that 547 people died on Maryland roadways in 2009. Thirty three percent of those car accidents reportedly involved speeding.

In the first two rounds of the Smooth Operator Program this year police issued an average of 365 tickets and warnings every hour. And last year, the campaign resulted in more than 500,000 violations being handed out in Maryland and the District of Columbia.

A fourth run of the Smooth Operator Program is scheduled for some time in September.

Source: CBS TV, Baltimore, "Grand Prix Helps Combat Aggressive Driving," Meghan McCorkell, Aug. 2, 2011

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