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May 20, 2011
Virginia State Police Roll Out "Operation Air, Land & Speed" on Virginia Interstates to Kick Off Statewide "Click It or Ticket" Campaign

RICHMOND - Virginia State Police will be saturating Interstates 95 and 81 Sunday (May 22) and Monday (May 23) as part of “Operation Air, Land & Speed.” The traffic-safety initiative coincides with the annual spring launch of Virginia’s “Click It or Ticket” campaign on Sunday.

Click It or Ticket is a high visibility enforcement program designed to raise safety belt usage and save drivers and passengers from death or serious injury on the streets and highways of the Commonwealth. Virginia’s statewide safety belt compliance rate is currently 80.5 percent. This year’s goal is to increase that usage rate to 83.7 percent through the upcoming May 22, 2011 – June 5, 2011, Click It or Ticket enforcement wave.

Operation Air, Land and Speed concentrates on traffic safety enforcement along the entire lengths of Interstates 81 and 95. The enforcement effort targets all 177 miles of I-95 from border to border; and all 325 miles of I-81 from border to border. A total of 163,664 summonses and arrests have resulted from 32 Operation Air, Land & Speed initiatives conducted on Virginia interstates since 2006.

State police will be concentrating on those adults who fail to buckle up and fail to safely secure their children in child safety seats/booster seats. In 2010, state police cited 26,797 seat belt violations and 7,135 child safety restraint violations on Virginia’s highways. In addition, troopers will be on patrol for speeders, aggressive drivers, impaired drivers and distracted drivers.

“The enforcement and educational components of the Click It or Ticket program are essential to safeguarding Virginians on our highways,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Buckling up every one in your vehicle on every ride is a habit every Virginian needs to develop. The fact that 20 percent of the population still insists on putting their lives at risk by not wearing a seat belt is not only disturbing, but a tragedy waiting to happen.”

The comprehensive enforcement project will utilize troopers, supervisors and motor carrier troopers. State police operational duties on other interstates, primary and secondary roads will not be affected during the operation. Funding for the enforcement initiative is provided through federal highway safety monies. Funds generated from summonses issued by Virginia State Police go directly to court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding and teacher retirement.

With the increased presence of troopers on the interstates, motorists are reminded to comply with Virginia’s “Move Over” law. The state law requires drivers to change to another travel lane or, when not able to, to cautiously pass emergency personnel stopped on the side of the road.