The operation began on Monday and will last through Nov. 28. 1st Sgt. Kevin Barker with the highway patrol said it’s a “standard enforcement blitz.”
Thanksgiving week is one of the biggest travel weeks of the year, Barker said, so officers will be targeting interstates 74 and 77.
“The main objective is the interstates of course and speeding and reckless driving,” said Barker. But they will also be patrolling two-lane and rural roads, he said.
The effort is a combination of Operation Slow Down, which was started by N.C. Highway Patrol, and No Need 2 Speed, a campaign of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. Both operations were created to target speeding.
“Speeding is what most of our accidents are from,” Barker remarked.
Although catching speeders is the focus of the operation, officers will also be watching out for those driving while impaired and drivers committing various infractions.
Barker said, “Thanksgiving weekend we usually have pretty good numbers.”
He expects the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday afterward to be the busiest days for the highway patrol.
Barker has several safety tips for those traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday: “Slow down. Increase your following distance. Wear your seatbelt. Be mindful of your surroundings.”
He also said travelers should give themselves enough time for delays and have an alternate route planned in case of traffic or accidents.
Last year patrol officers in Surry County cited drivers for more than 1,000 traffic and criminal violations during the operation. There were 443 speeding citations. Twenty-two motorists were caught driving while impaired. A total of 16 checkpoints and 55 saturation patrols were held.
“That week of enforcement is usually a whole lot higher,” Barker remarked.
Statewide, there were 83,118 cited traffic and criminal violations during Operation Slow Down and No Need 2 Speed in 2009. Of the total, 31,760 were for speeding.
Contact Meghann Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952.