The Arkansas State Police (ASP) has acquired 25 new low-profile patrol vehicles to combat aggressive and distracted driving. The black Chevrolet Tahoes are partially marked with the state police insignia visible only from the passenger side but are fully equipped to conduct traffic stops.
“Putting state troopers in non-conventional patrol vehicles to blend unnoticed in traffic is nothing new; we’ve been doing it more than 20 years,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, director of the ASP. “What’s new today is the use of a taller vehicle platform like the Tahoe that will offer troopers an improved visual perspective to detect drivers violating distracted driving laws or spotting a vehicle being driven in an aggressive manner that threatens other motorist’s safety.”
During calendar year 2020, there were 641 Arkansas deaths resulting from motor vehicle crashes, a 27% increase over the previous year. The number of highway crash deaths has already surpassed 400 this year.
Unsafe driving citations are on the rise, and troopers have recorded more violations of drivers traveling at or faster than 100 mph, drivers refusing to pull over for traffic stops, distracted driving, and illegally using the left lane in a multi-lane highway — this is reserved for passing. Troopers are also combating incidents of gunfire directed at vehicles and occupants.
“Every highway patrol troop will have the low profile marked Tahoes and we hope the use of the special patrol vehicles throughout the state will be a deterrent to the growing threat caused by drivers who choose to ignore the law and safety of others,” said Major Jason Aaron, commander of the Highway Patrol Division, Eastern Region. “If a trooper can stop just one of these dangerous drivers before killing an innocent motorist, the new tool we have in our patrol fleet will have been worth it.”
The recognizable white sedan with blue stripes and state police markings will continue to be the mainstay of the ASP highway patrol fleet with aerial observation from two aircraft flying in support over the highways.
The low-profile vehicles will be assigned to each of the 12 highway patrol troops across the state. The new low-profile patrol vehicles and law enforcement equipment installed in the vehicles were purchased with federal grant money totaling $1.15 million provided by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration.