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Troopers Use Trickery to Keep Roads Safe

Posted May 26, 2007
Updated May 27, 2007

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— Last year, 767 people across the state were injured in wrecks on Memorial Day weekend, and 19 died.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol is taking a new approach to keeping roads safe this Memorial Day weekend, and as of 4 a.m. Sunday, no fatal accidents had been reported in Wake and 13 surrounding counties.

Troopers say the plan this year is pretty simple. Since so many people are out on the roads – and troopers can't be everywhere at once – they'll make it look like they are. All it involves is a few extra patrol cars.

Drivers are seeing see patrol cars along highways all over the Triangle. In some cases, though, no one is in the car. It's a new tactic statewide to get drivers to slow down.

NCSHP Lt. Billy Clayton said the goal is for drivers to pay attention to their speed, put on their seat belts and take an extra moment to look at their surroundings.

“If we do that, that’s going to reduce collisions while we save lives and reduce injuries,” Clayton said.

This is the first time the highway patrol in the Triangle has had these drones, as they're called, out in this number. In the 14-county area, there are 31 cars parked along major roadways - 13 of them are in Wake County.

And while drivers realize pretty quickly that no one's in the car, their presence alone seems to be working.

But troopers warn, don't get too confident. They're working, too.


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  • vaporlock1 May 27, 2007

    Retired trooper.....when you guys start investigating child molester, rapists, murderers, felons with guns, then you may join the ranks of REAL law enforcement. It is nice you went through six monthe of USMC boot camp to drive black and silver car. I have put many folks away in prison for murder, rapes, murder, drugs, guns and so on....and I even have run radar and investigated wrecks. I can do it all, where all you do is one simple thing...chapter 20....WOW! When you can do all that then come on back and lets talk.......

  • hersheyspots May 27, 2007

    There's one of these cars at the end of my road - Hwy. 17 S. headed toward Morehead City. It has been sitting there since Friday afternoon with no one in it. When driving by to come home, we have noticed that many people not from the area have been slamming on the brakes when they see the car. So, I guess it is working in this area, anyway.

  • Richie in Willow springs May 27, 2007

    see , noone wants to give up thier right not to be able to speed when they want to . thats why noone wants to govern the cars to the road thier on . the tecnology is out there , northstar knows exactly where you are , all most all cell phones have gps . a simple sensor sytem can solve all speeding issues . but then noone MAKES money . we make no money off criminals , thats why we need speeders . to pay officers , to pay lawyers , to pay courts . such a simple solution to end speeding permantly but noone wants to give up thier freedom to speed when they want to .

  • wizard633 May 27, 2007

    I know here in Wayne County, NCSHP are doing a fine job. You don't see them until he has got you. I live on a back road well off the 'Beaten Path', & just last night, NC's finest stopped one in front of my home. They can be any-where & every-where at any given time, day or night. My philosophy is " If you ain't doing nothing wrong, then you don't have any-thing to worry about" They are to be commended for the job they do.

  • farcry May 27, 2007

    Everyone acts like speeding is the only thing that causes accidents. An empty patrol car ison't going to stop a drunk driver and it isn't going to stop a distracted driver - someone talking on the phone, eating McDonald's french fries, while the kids are screaming in the back. Also, for those who say they never speed - how about using a turn signal once in a while? Or, staying out of the passing lane. Oh, and when you miss your exit, let's not swerve across two lanes of traffic so, heaven forbid, you don't have to go anothe exit and turn around. Stupid and/or distracted drivers are as much if not more to blame than speeders. Don't think an empty patrol car is going to fix any of that.

  • singleinapex May 27, 2007

    Tarheels dont like Edwards....

    Please provide some additional datea to support your opinions..

    How many miles did you drive? How much time did your study take? Was anyone pulled over? Are you sure you saw every car? What time were you monitoring the roads? Did you make a special trip to check up to see if law enforcement was doing their job?

    If you would spend 25% of your time doing some good rather than griping, I'm sure that we would all see some results from your effort.

    I am grateful for the officers on the roads protecting us from ourselves. We should slow down, and if it takes a "waste of tax dollars" to do it then so be it. I'd rather see our "wasted tax dollars" sitting on the side of the road than to see them directing traffic around the latest fatality.

  • IHave1-2 May 27, 2007

    Kudos NCSHP! Thank you for going the extra mile for life-saving trickery tactics. I think this 'tactic' by the NCSHP has been super positive this weekend. I would like to see it on a regular basis, not just holidays with heavy travel. I've seen more flashing lights from speeding vehicle trying to get folks to move out of their way than I have seen flashing blues and/or reds! There are several decoys near my area. I wish, however, that NCSHP would move the 'dummie' vehicles more frequently because the local traffic sees these decoys and realize they are empty so the purpose is being ignored somewhat.

  • sorry May 27, 2007

    I just like to say thank you to the highway patrol they are the best

  • findthetruth May 27, 2007

    "Thank you" to every law enforcement officer out there.

    No matter how many ignorant, selfish people you see commenting here, the other 98% of us appreciate all that you do.

    Have a happy, safe holiday weekend. Hopefully you'll get to spend a little time with your families, too.

  • FE May 27, 2007

    A little "Sunday preaching": Those of you who think the troopers just spend their days running radar to catch YOU breaking the law are sadly mistaken.

    They are frequently seen assisting stranded motorists (even known to change a tire or two!) and do have to respond to accident scenes, including notifying next of kin of the loss of a loved one.

    There are some political issues at play here (directly under control of Gov. Easley and Crime Control) and they have been known to snuggle up to legislators (the word "chauffeur" is sometimes used). But it does seem to work, as they get automatic raises EVERY year in spite of what the rest of state employees receive.

    In any case, I would not have their job for all the money in the world. Many troopers have been murdered by the scum of the earth. Their training is rigid, almost para-military, and the NC SHP is generally considered one of the best operations in the nation. Not perfect, of course, but still doggone good!

    Drive safely!