Drivers on I-81 and I-95 this past weekend witnessed a police ritual designed to make Virginia roads safer for everyone. Virginia State Police were conducting their first Operation Air, Land & Speed traffic-safety enforcement effort in 2010. Thousands of speeders and hundreds of reckless drivers and seat-belt violators were cited during the weekend on Interstates 81 and 95. As a result, during the two-day initiative, there were no fatal traffic crashes reported on either interstate.
From March 6, 2010 through March 7, 2010, between both interstates, Virginia State Police stopped a total of 3,536 speeders, 717 reckless drivers and 20 drunk drivers. A total of 310 safety belt violations were cited, and 35 drug and felony arrests were made. The operation yielded 7,016 total summonses and arrests.
Interstate 81 Operation Air, Land & Speed (March 6-7, 2010)
212 Reckless Drivers
6 Impaired Drivers
136 Safety Belt Citations
505 Reckless Drivers
14 Impaired Drivers
174 Safety Belt Citations
“It is discouraging to see so many motorists on our interstates putting themselves and others at risk by failing to comply with speed limits, to buckle up, and to drive sober,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “The safety of Virginia’s highways begins the minute a vehicle is put in â€˜drive.’ Those split second decisions to choose not to drive drunk, to choose to wear a seat belt and to choose not to speed or drive aggressively really do make a difference in preventing and/or surviving a crash.”
This weekend’s Operation Air, Land & Speed was the thirteenth conducted on the north-south corridors of I-81 and I-95 since its inception in 2006. The enforcement effort targeted all 177 miles of I-95 from border to border; and all 325 miles of I-81 from border to border. Including this weekend’s operation, a total of 120,977 summonses and arrests have resulted from 23 Operation Air, Land & Speed initiatives conducted across Virginia since 2006.
The comprehensive enforcement project utilized troopers, supervisors and motor carrier troopers. State police operational duties on other interstates, primary and secondary roads were not affected during the operation. Funding for the enforcement initiative was 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.