11/15/06 — N.C. Highway Patrol announces annual holiday hunt for speeders

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N.C. Highway Patrol announces annual holiday hunt for speeders

By Lee Williams
Published in News on November 15, 2006 1:45 PM

Speed is the leading cause of all traffic collisions and fatal collisions in the state, so troopers will be on the hunt for those who can't drive 55 -- or 65 -- and other reckless drivers over the Thanksgiving holiday.

"We will be on U.S. 70 and U.S. 117 during the holidays," Highway Patrol Commander First Sgt. Dwayne Banks said. "Those are going to be the key roads because of the holidays, so we are telling people to be careful and be safe."

On Monday, the North Carolina Highway Patrol kicked off Operation Slow Down 2006, a traffic enforcement campaign geared to crack down on speeders and to reduce the number of traffic-related fatalities in the state.

The push was created in response to the number of citizen complaints about drivers who travel at dangerous speeds, officials said.

"The Highway Patrol is determined to reduce fatal collisions in North Carolina by going after speeders who recklessly endanger our citizens," said Bryan Beatty, Secretary of the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety. "Speeding and irresponsible driving are the leading causes of traffic deaths and collisions in our state. Operation Slow Down 2006 will help in our efforts to reverse that trend."

The special concentration will end Nov. 26. Statistics from the campaign will be featured in an upcoming article.

"Operation Slow Down 2006 will be conducted statewide and will primarily focus on motorists exceeding the posted speed limits on the interstates and major four-lane highways," said Lt. Everett Clendenin, Highway Patrol spokesman. "Troopers will be using helicopters, motorcycles and unmarked patrol vehicles to target the most dangerous roadways in the county."

Troopers also will be keeping an eye out for those who commit other traffic violations, Clendenin said.

"These violations include following too closely, improper or erratic lane change, careless and reckless driving and any violation of the motor vehicle laws that can result in serious injury or death," Clendenin said.

Troopers conducted the same enforcement campaign last year and the results were encouraging, Clendenin said.

During Operation Slow Down 2005, troopers issued more than 16,000 traffic citations, most of which were for speeding. But the biggest achievement came from reductions in traffic-related fatalities and speed-related collisions.

"Traffic fatalities investigated by the Patrol dropped 6.6 percent and speed-related collisions dropped 17 percent from the previous year," Clendenin said.