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TACT Overview: A High Visibility Enforcement Program

TACT - Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks

A program administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

What is TACT?

The Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks (TACT) program Selective Traffic Enforcement (STEP) Program. The goal of TACT is to deter unsafe driving behaviors by passenger vehicle (PV) and commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers when they interact to share the road.

The Mission of TACT

The mission of the TACT program is to reduce CMV-related crashes, injuries, and fatalities by combining outreach, education, and evaluation with targeted enforcement activities to raise awareness among car and truck drivers about safe driving behaviors.

Some Unsafe Driving Behaviors Addressed by a TACT Program

  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Tailgating
  • Failing to signal when changing lanes
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Speeding
  • Aggressive driving (a combination of two or more behaviors)

Funding Your TACT Program

The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) requires that States conduct comprehensive and highly-visible traffic enforcement and commercial motor vehicle safety inspection programs in high-risk locations and corridors.

States can apply for grants from two funding sources:

  • Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) Basic, Incentive Grants and High Priority Grants

Building a Strong TACT Program Foundation

Key Steps in Ensuring the Success of Your TACT Program

  • Review FMCSA/NHTSA Guidelines for States
  • Collaborate with partners
  • Establish a management structure
  • Set goals based on State data
  • Pinpoint unsafe behaviors and identify safety messages
  • Specify a timeline
  • Create plans

Pre-Planning Activities

Building a Strong TACT Program Foundation

  • Select the violations and unsafe practices the car and truck drivers will receive citations
  • Identify the roadways where the citations will be given
  • Determine the time periods for the program activities
  • Plan for the law officers' training, coordination, and feedback
  • Determine the number of enforcement waves

Collaborate With Partners

Building a Strong TACT Program Foundation

  • FMCSA Division Office
  • MCSAP Lead Agency
  • Department of Transportation
  • Law Enforcement Agency
  • Governor’s Highway Safety Office
  • Trucking Association(s)
  • Sheriffs and Police Chiefs Association(s)
  • Federal Highway Administration
  • NHTSA Regional Office

To ensure success, it is important to secure the skills and expertise of law enforcement, communications specialists, experienced evaluators, and key State, local, and industry partners.

Establish a Management Structure

Building a Strong TACT Program Foundation

Organizational chart of the TACT Program Foundation

Set Goals Based on State Research

Building a Strong TACT Program Foundation

  • Get State statistics on deaths and injury
  • Tie goals to the three components Enforcement, Communication, & Evaluation
  • Establish benchmarks to measure outcome

Goal setting depends on many considerations:

  • Funding and other in-kind contributions
  • Types of behaviors identified for citations
  • Geographic area for the program
  • Participation by enforcement agencies and other stakeholders
  • Delineation of media markets

Identify Safety Messages

Building a Strong TACT Program Foundation

  • “Leave More Space”
  • “Don’t Cut Off Semi-Trucks”
  • “Don’t Tailgate. Stay Visible”
  • “Don’t Hang Out in the NO ZONE”
  • “Slow Down. Save a Life!”
  • “Be Ready. Be Buckled.”
  • …or other safety messages

Set a Timeline

Building a Strong TACT Program Foundation

  • Consider holidays, weather, or other events…
  • Determine if any construction may be scheduled during the selected timeframe
  • Coordinate enforcement, communications, and evaluation components

Developing an Enforcement Plan

Timing, Frequency, & Visibility

  • Identify high risk areas where the program would have maximum impact
  • Select an intervention site for enforcement and communications activities
  • Select a control site for comparison
  • Determine methods to identify and stop dangerous drivers and citation/warning reporting tactics to maintain consistency
  • Meet with all participating law enforcement groups to review approach
  • Alert area court clerks of the increased volume of citations due to TACT program

Developing a Communications Plan

  • Determine media market for intervention sites
  • Develop message and creative brief based on safety behavior
  • Prepare radio script, ad, posters, banners, and flyers
  • Focus group test materials to ensure message resonates with audience
  • Refine materials
  • Produce road signs and sign to wrap around CMVs
  • Coordinate radio and newspaper buys (paid media) to begin 5 days prior to enforcement
  • Plan a media event to kick-off earned media
  • Post information on your Web site

Developing an Evaluation Plan

  • Work with an evaluator early in your program’s planning process
  • Link measures to goals and objectives of program
  • Look at both process and outcome measures
  • Integrate within the enforcement and communications strategy
  • Prepare a report

Examples of evaluation outputs include:

  • Process measures to determine the input to the intervention, e.g., number of media plays, patrol hours devoted to the intervention, number of tickets issued
  • Knowledge/awareness measures, e.g., survey of motorists to determine the percent who saw/heard each communication type, self-reported behavior change, perceived risk of a ticket
  • Outcome measures, e.g., observed changes in driving behavior, crashes

Sustaining Your TACT Program

  • Expand your partnerships
  • Communicate your success
  • Collect meaningful data
  • Maintain media contact
  • Engage policymakers
  • Support the sharing of lessons learned among interested and participating TACT States
  • Bring Federal, State, and local resources together to educate the public about safety around big trucks
  • Find the best approaches to save lives through enhanced education and outreach efforts across the Nation

The Road to Success!

A TACT program in your State will:

  • Reduce the number of crashes, injuries, and fatalities on your highways.
  • Increase public awareness and change unsafe driving behaviors around commercial vehicles (i.e., cutting off trucks, tailgating, and/or speeding).
Last updated: Tuesday, February 25, 2014