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Troopers Keep Eyes in the Sky and on the Road

Posted November 24, 2007
Updated November 25, 2007

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— The death toll on North Carolina's roads for the Thanksgiving holiday was up, even as state troopers used helicopters and other methods to catch speeders during the Thanksgiving holiday.

By early Sunday afternoon, 13 motorists had died in motor-vehicle accidents since the Thanksgiving holiday officially began at midnight Tuesday. That's an increase of two over 2006, when 11 motorists were killed on North Carolina highways during the holiday – the lowest total in three years.

The force launched Operation Slowdown on Nov. 13 to aggressively target speeders on interstates and major four-lane highways. The crackdown will end Sunday at midnight.

“I have instructed our troopers to crackdown on speeders this holiday weekend,” said Col. W. Fletcher Clay, commander of the state Highway Patrol. “Getting to your destination safely should be your number one goal. Don’t try to cut off a few minutes of your drive time by speeding or driving aggressively. It’s just not worth it.”

Six Highway Patrol helicopters will mount into the skies to monitor traffic on major interstates. A trooper will be on board with a radar device to track drivers' speed.

Interstate 40 will be one hot spot targeted by troopers and their helicopters.

"I-40 is one of the heaviest travel highways in North Carolina, especially in the Raleigh, Johnston County, Durham area," Lt. Everette Clendenin, spokesman for the Highway Patrol, said. "Close to a million cars travel that particular stretch of highway daily."

Speed is a leading factor in traffic fatalities and collisions in the state.

“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.

In addition, troopers are on motorcycles and in unmarked cars clocking speeders. They have stationed cars at various points on the highways in hopes of slowing drivers down.

The winter Booze It and Lose it campaign also got under way this weekend. Sobriety checkpoints are set up around the Triangle to look for people drinking and driving.

Last year's campaign ran from Thanksgiving Day until New Year's Day. It netted 3,523 DWI charges and more than 116,700 traffic and criminal citations statewide.

Motorists can report speeders and drunk drivers to the Highway Patrol by dialing *HP (*47) on their cellular phones. The toll-free call goes directly to the nearest Highway Patrol communication center.

29 Comments

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  • 68_polara Nov 26, 2007

    The faster we travel over 55-60 the less gas mileage we achieve, so speeding 70+, while gas is at 3$/gallon, costs us whether were caught by the poe-poe or not. Stay right unless passing and everyone is happy. Hindering traffic flow is not only annoying to everyone is also dangerous. If they want to speed get out of their way and let them get away from us, holding them back can result accidents usually involving more vehicles.

  • floriduhschoolboy Nov 25, 2007

    joco cruiser, yes, we realize this, but the speed limit is irrelevant if you are in a lane other than the far right and someone behind you wants to go faster. "SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEP RIGHT"...posted on every interstate in NC. So, if you don't get over, and let that person(s) behind around, you are impeding the flow of traffic, thus creating more of a problem. The Police enforce the speed, no one else.

  • leo-nc Nov 25, 2007

    "Wah, wah, wah. If there weren't speed laws, the varying speeds of the drivers would be so great there would be wrecks with injuries and death everywhere. Yes, there are other factors that cause wrecks, but speeding reduces your time to react to those other factors, thus causing wrecks. Collisions at higher speeds cause significantly more in damages and injuries than those that happen at slower speeds. The speed limits are set so that drivers know what is acceptable and what is not.It is not about the state getting a share of your holiday spending. Drive the speed limit, observe other common sense rules of the road and increase your chances of arriving at your destination safe and sound and ticket free."

    Thank you! Finally, someone with some common sense speaks!

  • joco cruiser Nov 25, 2007

    People, you do realize that the speed limit in the left lane is the same as the speed limit in the right.......don't you?

  • pwalker2f2f Nov 25, 2007

    Wah, wah, wah. If there weren't speed laws, the varying speeds of the drivers would be so great there would be wrecks with injuries and death everywhere. Yes, there are other factors that cause wrecks, but speeding reduces your time to react to those other factors, thus causing wrecks. Collisions at higher speeds cause significantly more in damages and injuries than those that happen at slower speeds. The speed limits are set so that drivers know what is acceptable and what is not.It is not about the state getting a share of your holiday spending. Drive the speed limit, observe other common sense rules of the road and increase your chances of arriving at your destination safe and sound and ticket free.

  • Sumo Vita Nov 25, 2007

    "So it is actually your position that a wreck at 80 is not more likely to result in serious injury or death then a wreck at 60"

    You are right, but one could argue further that a wreck at 40 is even less likely to result in serious injury. Or at 20. Or 10. If we didn't drive at all, there would be no wrecks.

    The problem is everyone has their own definitions of what an "acceptable" speed is. I'd prefer to see troopers pulling over all those that drive dangerously - this would include too fast, too slow, too distracted, too reckless - rather than the lazy way out of trapping those going a certain magic number above the speed limit.

  • Sumo Vita Nov 25, 2007

    "On the highway,just follow the adage the Troopers have among themselves, "9 you're fine, 10 you're mine". This means keep it within 9 mph over the posted speed and chances are they won't bother you."

    That's what I thought, till I got ticketed for 64 in a 55 on I-40 in Durham county. Had to deal with the sanctimonious questions and attitude from the trooper too.

  • RonnieR Nov 25, 2007

    I guess the GA must have changed the law. Used to be, when
    I retired, using AC to enforce traffic laws was not considered
    sporting and the NCSHP was strictly prohibited by GS from
    doing so.

  • zProt Nov 25, 2007

    I'm so glad. I feel safer. And it's a win-win situation since our government officials and troopers get to live out their fantasies of a police state.

  • ANYWHO Nov 25, 2007

    thank you s.h.p. for your work and all you do. you are blessed and i too hope you stay safe as you work and strive to protect our roads and highways.

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