Local News

Pinetops Police Work To End Speeding Trend

Posted January 20, 2006 9:07 a.m. EST

— Pinetops is a small town, with several highways running through it, and that means a steady stream of traffic. People who live there said many of the passing drivers don't stick to the 35 mph speed limit.

"Nobody's being careful," said Pinetops resident Angela Edwards. "Everybody is in a hurry, trying to get somewhere."

"They could slow down a little bit more," said Pinetops resident Tammy Johnson.

Police Chief John Ruppe agrees. Since taking over the department in October, he's had his officers keep a closer eye on traffic.

"We're trying to make sure everybody gets to where they need to go as safely as possible," said Chief Ruppe.

That means more officers running radar in the mornings and early evenings. They also use a speed monitor when traffic is heaviest.

"Slow them down so they don't have any wrecks," said Ruppe. "We've had four wrecks since I've been here, and I've worked all four."

Four accidents don't sound like a lot, but in Pinetops, it's actually a big deal. Just last month, AAA gave Pinetops a traffic safety award because they didn't have a single car accident in town in 2004. Pinetops was the only town in the State, with more than 1,000 people, to record zero wrecks.

"I'd like to not have anymore wrecks or anymore speeding through town, but we'll just have to keep working at it," said Ruppe.

"Definitely seeing (the police) out more, even at night, would be a huge asset to this community," said Johnson.

While they won't have a perfect record again this year, Pinetops police hope putting patrols out will keep the number down.

So far, Pinetops hasn't had any serious injury accidents this year. The town hasn't seen a fatal accident in several years.