Police step up interstate patrols

Published 12:08 am Thursday, March 12, 2009

Commuters driving into and out of the rest of Hampton Roads and the Peninsula should use extra care during the next couple of days, as the Virginia State Police have announced stepped-up enforcement along area interstate highways.

The effort represents the next phase of Operation Air, Land and Speed, whose purpose, according to a VSP press release, is “to save lives by preventing traffic fatalities and reminding drivers to buckle up and slow down through high visibility and strict enforcement.”

This will be the second time the enforcement campaign has targeted I-64, I-264, -464 and I-664 in the Hampton Roads area. A similar effort in July yielded 3,303 violations during a two-day period. According to the state police, there were 1,684 speeders stopped, 298 reckless drivers cited, five impaired drivers arrested and 189 seat belt violations written up. The project also resulted in 21 drug or felony arrests.


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The new campaign is set for today and Friday along Hampton Roads interstate highways and along the entire length of I-64, from the I-81 interchange east to its end in Virginia Beach.

Troopers, supervisors, motorcycle units and motor carrier troopers will be involved, according to the statement released on Wednesday, which also stressed that the agency’s duties on other interstates, primary and secondary roads would not be curtailed during the campaign. Funding for the operation comes from federal highway safety money.

“This highway safety campaign is a chance to remind all drivers how serious state police take traffic safety,” Col. W. Steven Flaherty, the Virginia State Police superintendent, said. “The locations and the dates of (the program) are based on the frequency of highway fatalities, anticipated heavy travel times and in consideration of other major events and activities associated with a particular interstate corridor.”

Flaherty also urged drivers to remember Virginia’s “Slow Down, Move Over” law, which requires motorists to move to another travel lane or slow down and “cautiously pass” emergency personnel who are stopped on the side of the road.

Last year, two troopers from the Chesapeake Division were injured when they were struck by passing vehicles while pulled over with subjects stopped during the Air, Land and Speed campaign.