Police unit honored for safety

Published 9:28 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

Members of Suffolk Police Department’s Motor Carrier Unit celebrate the unit’s recent John T. Hanna Award for Traffic Safety Excellence. It was given by Drive Safe Hampton Roads.

The Suffolk Police Department’s Motor Carrier Unit was recently honored with the 2012 John T. Hanna Award for Traffic Safety Excellence in Hampton Roads by Drive Safe Hampton Roads.

The award “honors those who share Mr. Hanna’s tireless dedication and commitment to improving traffic safety on Virginia’s highways,” according to Drive Safe Hampton Roads’ website. Hanna was the deputy commissioner for transportation safety in the state for many years.

Suffolk’s Motor Carrier Unit was created in 2009 to address problems created by tractor-trailers on Suffolk roadways, according to a press release from the city about the award.

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“With the influx of new tractor-trailer traffic, the Suffolk Police Department also saw an increase in accidents and indications that Suffolk roadways were sustaining damage by overweight vehicles constantly utilizing secondary roads to bypass the scales located on Route 58,” the release stated.

The unit focuses on the enforcement and education of commercial motor vehicle drivers. Money generated by violation summonses written by the unit is used by the city to repair damaged roads, according to the release.

The unit has weighed more than 2,500 vehicles, written nearly 600 overweight summonses and placed 380 unsafe vehicles out of service, according to the release.

The unit also does courtesy inspections for farm trucks and farm equipment and courtesy weighs when requested by the business owner to ensure trucks are under the weight limit prior to entering the roadway.

The unit is made up of five civilians and police officers.

“We have seen a reduction in the number of violations and out-of-service vehicles due to the efforts of the Suffolk Motor Carrier Unit,” Officer David Rupe was quoted as saying in the release.

The unit was recognized in the law enforcement initiatives category. Other categories include impaired driving prevention, public transportation safety, youth traffic safety and more.

This is not the first time Suffolk has been recognized by the awards. The Suffolk Fire Department received honors in 2003 for education and prevention.

Nominations are accepted from the public for the awards. To nominate a person or group, visit www.drivesafehr.org.