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Watch Your Speed: A Gray Eye in the Sky Is Watching

Posted November 21, 2007

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— If you’re going on the road for Thanksgiving – or even just to work – you will want to slow down. The state Highway Patrol is mounting a crackdown on speeders during the holiday period, including airborne enforcement.

Troopers say they will be watching the roads from the ground and from their four helicopters.

"We're going to tell everybody right now. This is your warning. Go ahead and slow down and don't take a chance on getting stopped," Lt. Everett Clendenin, a Highway Patrol spokesman, said Wednesday afternoon.

During last year’s Thanksgiving holiday, 11 people died on North Carolina highways – and that was just in the crashes the Highway Patrol investigated. This year, troopers said, they want their presence to be a deterrent for speeders, who they said seem to be going faster than ever.

“Traffic peaks in November, and a lot of it is associated with travel over the Thanksgiving holiday,” Col. Fletcher Clay, the patrol’s commanding officer, said.

“Every 5 ½ hours, someone is killed on our state’s highways, and speed is a leading cause of these fatalities,” said Brian Beatty, state secretary of crime control and public safety.

“It's more common for troopers to go out here and work the interstates and catch people running in the high 80s, 90s and in excess of 100 mph,” Clay said.

From the helicopters, troopers use a timing device that tells them how quickly a vehicle moves between two fixed points along the road. After that, it is simply a middle-school time-distance calculation to show the speed.

In addition, troopers will be on motorcycles and in regular patrol cars and unmarked cars to clock speeders. They also will station unmanned cars at various points on the highways for their value in slowing drivers who might have a reason to worry about how fast they're traveling, troopers said.

They said they'll be focusing their efforts on the interstates and four-lane highways.

149 Comments

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  • retired and luv it Nov 22, 2007

    The SHP has a tough job and are to be appreciated. The helicopter operation is exorbently expensive to be maintained for speeders. It needs to be seriously curtailed and used in life threatning situations and not to fly around the state fair and chase speeders. The motorcyles are a total waste of money in NC traffic patterns. SHP keep up the good work but put the troopers on the road in cars and save TAXPAYER money and lives.

  • whatelseisnew Nov 21, 2007

    jstadwtr

    that saving money part; the state is trying to correct that oversight. You must pay more You must pay more.

  • 3779LRRP Nov 21, 2007

    There is probably not going to be a speed problem anyway for the next few days. If you get to drive the speed limit on the interstate..Good luck. Most will be in jams or something. Reckless driving is another thing. Lane switching. tailgateing..Hench..the eye in the sky. I hope they calm the (in a hurry) folks down. Thanks NCHP.

  • leo-nc Nov 21, 2007

    "I think the vast host of State Troopers who typically pass me all the time (I drive about 800 miles a week for a living) going twenty to thirty miles over the speed limit without the benefit of flashing lights or sirens.....ever.......should take heed and follow their own advice. No one can tell me they are any less risk to the drivers around them flying down the road themselves completely unannounced to drivers around them. I have been driving for 24 years and in that time I think I have seen one doing the speed limit one time."

    Ride with one for a day or two and then you'll have somewhat of a clue.

  • leo-nc Nov 21, 2007

    "Then there must be a whole lot of calls and/or that law, or lack thereof, should be changed or instituted."

    Over 200 calls today in my troop alone. So yes, it's true.

  • ifcdirector Nov 21, 2007

    "Did you know (most people don't, even though they think they know everything about the law) that LEO's do not have to have lights and sirens on when going over the speed limit to get to a call???????????"

    Then there must be a whole lot of calls and/or that law, or lack thereof, should be changed or instituted.

  • wcnc Nov 21, 2007

    Did you know (most people don't, even though they think they know everything about the law) that LEO's do not have to have lights and sirens on when going over the speed limit to get to a call???????????

  • leo-nc Nov 21, 2007

    "The boys and their toys at work. Wonder how many more effectual troopers in cars we could have on the road if we took away the helicopters and motorcycles and other ego toys. Just think of the cost of a helicopter operation -- for speeders!! These motorcycles are little more than status symbols to be driven around with your buddies on pretty days. Take away the cars and put them out there daily on motorcycles and you would quickly find they didn t need them any more. What the H-- just taxpayer money and the outfits are great for attracting women."

    You mean the very same helicopter (toy) that was used to pin in and nail a bank robbery suspect today? Yeah, what a waste of taxpayer money, right?

  • ifcdirector Nov 21, 2007

    I think the vast host of State Troopers who typically pass me all the time (I drive about 800 miles a week for a living) going twenty to thirty miles over the speed limit without the benefit of flashing lights or sirens.....ever.......should take heed and follow their own advice. No one can tell me they are any less risk to the drivers around them flying down the road themselves completely unannounced to drivers around them. I have been driving for 24 years and in that time I think I have seen one doing the speed limit one time.

  • jstadwtr Nov 21, 2007

    If you travel I-540, you can use the middle lane and travel at the posted limit. I do it every day. Saves money too. I-540 isn't long enough to make up time. 2 minutes isn't worth $250.00 and points.

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