CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Over the last five months, some Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers have been running traffic safety operations on area roads to crack down on speeding.
“As part of the Vision Zero project that we’re working with the city, we identified certain areas that were prone to serious crashes and fatalities. We call that the high injury network,” said Sgt. Jesse Wood. “So we’re moving around the city throughout each one of these networks conducting speed enforcement, traffic enforcement and trying to see if we can have an effect on the serious injuries and the fatal crashes on those areas by conducting these operations.”
Police on Thursday were on East W.T. Harris Blvd between Concord Road and North Tryon Street, where some drivers were clocked going 70 or 80 in the 55 mph zone.
“It’s entirely too fast. Your ability to react, abilities of your car to break are extremely reduced when you’re running those kinds of speeds in this area,” said Sgt. Wood. “There are median cuts where cars are turning across traffic. There are ramps. There are red lights and all this stuff with merging traffic coming in – those speeds are entirely too high for this area.”
Officers were also on North Tryon near Rocky River Road.
“Majority of the crashes are caused by inattention and speeding – is what we’re seeing,” said Sgt. John Reeves. “Our presence today will definitely impact the speeding side of it but also our presence in this neighborhood will give drivers some awareness that they need to slow down.”
Sgt. Reeves, who works in the Transportation Unit and supervises the Motorcycle Division, says officers didn’t have to wait long to make stops on the stretch of North Tryon Street, where the speed limit is 35 mph.
“It’s a lot. It’s consistent,” said Sgt. Reeves. “We’re seeing on average 55, 60, 61 on average.”
At the end of the operation, police say they made 92 stops for both locations. They wrote 121 citations. 87 were for speeding. Officers say this was the 30th operation between January and May.
Sgt. Wood says during the five months they’ve made 1500 traffic stops, written a total of 1800 charges, and specifically for speeding – issued 1200 citations.
“It’s extremely serious. Past couple of years we’ve seen a significant increase in fatalities – that’s one the reasons the city and the dept have the vision zero project which is aimed at eliminating the serious injuries and fatalities by the year 2030,” said Wood.
According to CMPD, there were 73 fatal crashes in 2018. Police say 77 people were killed.
Between January and May of 2018 – there were 31 deadly collisions.
So far this year, there have 19 fatal crashes.
Police say they believe the traffic safety operations are working.
Sgt. Wood says his hope is that drivers remember they saw police on different roads.
“And tell their friends," said Sgt. Wood. “We want to push this out to social media that we’re out here so that they never know when we’re going to come back.”