Operation Air, Land & Speed Tackles All of I-95 and I-81 in Va This Weekend

Those heading out this weekend along Interstates 81 and 95 can expect to see more Virginia State Police troopers on patrol as part of another installment of Operation Air, Land and Speed. The concentrated traffic safety campaign begins Saturday, July 17, 2010, and continues through midnight Sunday, July 18, 2010. The enforcement initiative will focus on the entire lengths of I-81 from Tennessee to Maryland and I-95 from North Carolina to Maryland.

“This operation is strictly about making Virginia’s interstates a safer drive for all motorists,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Having more troopers assigned to the targeted interstates helps ensure speed limits are obeyed, aggressive drivers are caught and drunk drivers deterred and/or arrested. This is about saving lives by simply preventing traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities on Virginia’s interstates.”

This is the third time since March that Interstates 81 and 95 have been a part of Operation Air, Land & Speed. The two-day enforcement initiative in May produced 6,081 summonses and arrests on I-95 and I-81. On May 23-24, 2010, between both interstates, Virginia State Police stopped a total of 3,263 speeders, 557 reckless drivers and 16 drunk drivers. A total of 252 safety belt violations were cited, and 21 drug and felony arrests were made.

With the increased presence of troopers on the interstates, motorists are reminded to comply with Virginia’s “Move Over” law. Since 2002, state law has required drivers to move over a travel lane or, when unable to safely do so, to proceed with caution when passing an emergency vehicle stopped on the side of the road. As of July 1, 2010, the law was expanded to include towing, repair and highway maintenance vehicles displaying amber-colored flashing lights.

The comprehensive enforcement project will utilize troopers, supervisors, motorcycle units, motor carrier teams and aviation. State police operational duties on other interstates, primary and secondary roads will not be affected during the operation. Funding for the enforcement initiative is provided through federal highway safety monies.

Funds generated from summonses issued by state police go directly to court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding and teacher retirement.