WRAL Investigates

Law enforcement catching up with speeders in Wake County

Posted November 18, 2021 8:00 p.m. EST

— Local law enforcement agencies are making good on their promises to crack down on reckless driving and speeding.

A number of agencies have said reckless driving and speeding became more common during the pandemic, so they have upped enforcement.

The number of traffic citations issued by the Wake County Sheriff’s Office this fall has more than doubled from a year ago, while the Raleigh Police Department handed out 472 speeding tickets over the last month, more than three times the number issued during the same time last year.

"I’m not telling them to go write a bunch of tickets. I’m telling them to keep this county safe and keep our roads safe," Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker said.

Toward that end, the sheriff's office recently formed a crash reduction unit.

"Wake County is ranked No. 2 in fatality-related crashes in the state," Lt. William Harding said, citing statistics covering 2015 to 2020.

The sheriff’s office pointed to Interstate 40 near Rock Quarry Road, eastbound U.S. Highways 64/264 between Raleigh and Zebulon and various sections of U.S. Highway 401 as the most crash-prone locations in the county.

"Our overall goal is to reduce collisions because they are all preventable," said Deputy Beckley Vaughan, a member of the crash reduction unit.

In his more than three decades on the job, Vaughan said every fatal crash he's seen was due to avoidable human error.

"Maybe they are driving impaired. Maybe they are tired [or] speeding," he said, adding that he’d much rather prevent crashes than respond to them.

“We are looking for anything that is problematic to the drivers, anything that is a clear-cut, substantial violation of the law," he said.

On Thursday, that included a Florida driver going 84 mph on I-40 near Aviation Parkway. The driver also was cited with a seatbelt violation.

“Just be careful. Take care," Vaughan told the driver.

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