Vacation Travelers Beware – Operation Air, Land & Speed Returns

If you are looking for a quick weekend get-away that includes a trip to the beach or mountains expect to see more Virginia State Police troopers along Interstates 64, 81 and 95. To help make your drive safer, troopers will saturate these three interstates during the summer initiative of Operation Air, Land and Speed which begins Saturday, July 16, and continues through Sunday, July 17, 2011. For the first time, state police will incorporate the entire stretch of I-64 while at the same time increasing patrols on I-81 and I-95.

“When our visibility is increased along targeted interstates, we know drivers pay attention to obeying speed limits, drunk drivers are caught and aggressive driving is deterred,” says Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “We want motorists to have a safe driving experience while traveling in the Commonwealth, and Operation, Air, Land and Speed initiatives help allow that to happen through its heightened enforcement and patrols.”

Troopers will conduct roaming patrols and stationary radar along nearly all 300 miles of I-64. The enforcement effort also targets all 177 miles of I-95 from border to border; and all 325 miles of I-81 from border to border. A total of 171,966 summonses and arrests have resulted from 34 Operation Air, Land & Speed initiatives conducted on Virginia interstates since 2006.

The last time Operation Air, Land and Speed concentrated on I-64 was in December 2010 and a total of 3,452 summonses and/or arrests were made. In May, troopers saturated I-81 and I-95 which concluded with 6,400 summonses and/or arrests.

Funding for the enforcement initiative is provided through federal highway safety monies. Funds generated from summonses issued by Virginia State Police go directly to court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding and teacher retirement.

The comprehensive enforcement project will utilize troopers, supervisors and motor carrier troopers. State police operational duties on other interstates, primary and secondary roads will not be affected during the operation.

Since more troopers will be on the road during this traffic safety initiative, motorists are reminded of Virginia’s “Move Over” law. Established in 2002, the law requires as motorists approach emergency vehicles displaying red or blue lights to change lanes away from the vehicle, if safe to do so. If unable to change lanes, the driver should proceed with caution. In 2010, the Commonwealth amended the law to include tow trucks, motorist assist vehicles and highway maintenance vehicles with amber-colored flashing lights. Almost every state in the nation has a Move Over law.