Durham Undercover Effort Puts Brakes on Dangerous Driving
Posted May 5, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT
DURHAM — Speed is a killer and the death toll in Durham is rising. The Bull City is putting on the brakes with an undercover operation designed to catch speeders.
Numbers are what got the attention of Durham police. This time last year, there was one traffic fatality. So far this year, there have been six deaths.
Just when motorists least suspect it, the eyes of Durham's police force are upon them.
Officers are recording every roadway move, every intersection turn, every motorist in a hurry, ignoring traffic lights, and speeding at some of Durham's busiest intersections. The recordings are part of a three-month stakeout by police in unmarked cars.
Officers know catching the culprits before there is an accident is the best policy. "And what makes it bad [is] if somebody has a wreck here, what does it do to traffic? It makes it four times as bad," says officer J.W. Piatt.
Stuart Reu drives the Garrett Road/Chapel Hill Boulevard intersection on a daily basis and has seen traffic backed up as far as the eye can see.
"If you're at a busy time of day they're backed all the way down I guess going to the shopping center over there," Reu says. "But I've never really had that much trouble, I guess I'm lucky.
Officers are also monitoring three major thoroughfares off I/85 at Avondale Road, Duke Road, and Guess Road. They are also looking at US-70 and Geer Street and the intersection of Highways 54 and 55.