‘Money talks’: Metro officer weighs in on how to curtail aggressive driving

Special Reports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Dangerous driving has gotten out of control in Middle Tennessee, said local law enforcement officials.

Fixing the issue has its own challenges as a shortage of Metro Nashville Police officers has led to only two officers dedicated to full-time speed enforcement.

“Why in the world are you traveling in such a reckless manner putting everyone in harm’s way?”

Metro Police Officer Sam Johnson said, he has witnessed more dangerous driving in the last two years in his more than 20 years in law enforcement.

“It’s insanity right now is what it is. It’s absolutely crazy, the way these people are acting,” he said.

Awarded 2020 Speed Officer of the Year, Johnson has been doing his part to keep people safe. He wrote more tickets than anyone else in the state.

“The reason you’re being stopped, and you probably know it, is you’re going in and out of traffic using three lanes to pass doing 84 mph. It’s a posted 55 mph zone,” Johnson said.

Johnson said policing the problem has gotten more challenging because of the population boom and officer shortage – meaning roads are left unattended.

He thinks the government needs to get involved with the solution.

“It would be great to have more officers out here,” he added, “We have to come up with some sort of solution that’s going to curtail this sort of activity.”

Johnson suggested tougher penalties may do the trick. Currently, the maximum fine for speeding is $50 plus administration fees.

“If you have something that’s really going to cost them money $250, $500 for a certain type of ticket violation,” he continued, “You know, money talks. And if you’re having to spend that type of money, you may change your habits of driving.”

Johnson would also like to see a liaison with the District Attorney’s Office to help handle cases in court that would allow police to appear only when necessary.

“You’re pulling officers off the street or from their day off anywhere from two hours to they may sit there for six or seven hours, and then they finally hear that their case has been settled,” Johnson explained.

News 2 digs deeper into the dangers posed by aggressive drivers and what cops are doing about it in our special reports ‘Aggressive Drivers’ on-air and on WKRN.com.

Repurposing resources, Johnson said, will help focus on enforcement desperately needed to control aggressive driving.

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