T   he young woman -- mid-30-ish -- was standing in the lobby of The York Dispatch building on North George Street in downtown York.

And she was about to walk out the door.

She was saying how she'd have to leave because she was running late for an appointment, and she had to hurry to get there on time. She had 10 minutes to make a 15-minute drive from York City to somewhere near Manchester.

In other words, she was going to cross Route 30. In fact, she was going to have to travel on Route 30 for a couple of blocks to get where she was going.

This was trouble waiting to happen.

Why? Well, I could tell she was going to be driving like a bat out of Hades to make up time.

Not a good thing.

Because that day was the third day various York County Police departments and the Pennsylvania State Police were turning up the HEAT on anyone driving on Route 30 and showing signs of offensive and aggressive driving.

HEAT, in case you're wondering, stands for Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic.

It's a relatively new thing in these parts. And long overdue.

Chip on your shoulder? They were (and still are) looking out for it. Heavy on the gas pedal? They're watching for that, too. Aggressive driving, anger issues, hostile attitude, poor driving habits, tailgating, failure to use turn signals etc. were targets, too.


It's a statewide effort, said Barbara Zortman, co-coordinator of the PA Aggressive Driving Enforcement and Education Program, in areas known to have high incidence of crashes caused by aggressive driving.

"It's about saving lives," she said.

The main focus is on what used to be known as the Lincoln Highway, from the New Jersey border to the Ohio line, but there are plenty of other roads being targeted, too, 57 of them right here in south-central Pennsylvania.

Anyway, for the first couple of days of this initiative I saw cops pulling people over left and right. Never saw so many people pulled over and cop cars with flashing lights.

I happen to work in downtown York, but live on the other side of Route 30 in West Manchester Township. So on any given day, depending on my mood, I could pass through four different municipalities -- West Manchester Township, York City, North York and/or Manchester Township -- going to and from work.

Well, let me tell you, the police officers representing those municipalities were out in full force every day for the last two weeks. And there are still three weeks to go in the program.

Anyway, I've been watching, and people were being pulled over as though they were sitting in line waiting for free coffee and doughnuts. Sometimes two and three in a row along the street. And in places where I don't see a cop car on patrol from one month to the next most of the time.

The No. 1 infraction leading to citations, according to Zortman, is speeding. That's considered aggressive driving, and rightly so.

People who know me think I drive like an old woman, and maybe I do, but I don't usually have to worry about getting pulled over by the police, either. Still, I have to admit I've been paying closer attention to my driving the last couple of weeks because I know the police are being particularly attentive.

So when the young woman was about to leave the office, I felt I had an obligation to warn her in case she hadn't heard about HEAT and the increased police patrols.

She hadn't heard. I'm glad I told her because I didn't want her to get a ticket. She needed the reminder.

And as far as I know she hasn't gotten pulled over.

Hopefully, she was on her best non-aggressive behavior.

Which would probably be a good approach for many of us when we're out and about in our vehicles. This week. Next week. Every week.

Remember, in the five-year stretch from 2008 through 2012 in York County, there were 711 crashes on Route 30 alone. Of those, six resulted in fatalities.

Aggressive driving and all that goes along with it.

Do any of us need to be in that much of a hurry?

I mean, really.

Columns by Larry A. Hicks, Dispatch columnist, run Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. E-mail: lhicks@yorkdispatch.com.