Sting Targets Speeding Drivers on I-79
State police and PennDOT monitored I-79 near Southpointe in an effort to curb aggressive driving.
State Trooper Joe Christy made no bones about police officers stopping speeding motorists on Interstate 79.
With two “radar speed trailers” set up in both directions near the Southpointe exit, Christy noted speeding motorists were given fair warning to slow down.
“It’s a little bit different in the sense we don’t have two speed trailers out,” Christy said of Wednesday’s aggressive driving sting with state police and PennDOT. “They’re given the opportunity to slow down. (If they don’t), then we have a trooper for enforcement since you didn’t get it on the first two opportunities.”
State troopers from Allegheny and Washington counties were actively patrolling a stretch of Interstate 79 between Bridgeville and Southpointe in an effort to get drivers to slow down. The operation, organized by PennDOT, is a way for the transportation agency to kickoff its aggressive driving program to educate motorists across the state.
PennDOT District 11 spokesman Steve Cowan said the statewide effort over the next two weeks will also involve 320 municipal police departments. Other aggressive driving operations won’t be as obvious to motorists, he said.
“There will be other local municipalities through the next two weeks doing enforcement,” Cowan said, noting there could be operations on Route 28 in Pittsburgh and Route 65, among other areas.
PennDOT received a $2.5 million federal grant and has disbursed it to municipal police departments to help boost enforcement. According to state statistics, there were 5,755 “aggressive driving” crashes in 2010, a 20 percent increase over 2009.
If 30-minute time span on I-79 Wednesday morning, state troopers had pulled over a half-dozen vehicles and were expected to continue throughout the afternoon. However, by 10 a.m., a number of tractor-trailer drivers clearly had spread the word through the CB radio and were slowly trucking along in the right hand lane.
Christy said he’s unsure if the electronic speed trailers that show a motorist his speed are effective because “it’s ultimately up to the driver.”
“It’s incumbent upon the driver to know how fast they’re going,” Christy said. “Obviously, if they’re following the speed limit, you don’t need to give them a reminder.”