July 4 is for... speed traps

news-statepolicespeedtrapJuly 4: an unmarked car mustered to fight speeding.

Despite sunny skies and temperatures nearing the triple-digit mark combining to create the clear visibility and bone-dry pavement evident on July 4–- not to mention a new law that has already begun giving drivers more leeway on the highway–- Virginia State Police appear to have targeted Interstate 64 for undercover enforcement action.

As this photo taken the afternoon of July 4 indicates, unmarked vehicles are part of the dragnet that is hauling in drivers along Interstate 64. While the reporter who snapped the photo didn't get a ticket, he witnessed four traffic stops in the westbound lanes of I-64 between Richmond and Charlottesville–- including this one just east of mile marker 132.

Ironically, for actions that are usually touted as safety-driven, such stings typically disappear with the arrival of rain. It's as if drivers know their own safe speed and then moderate it when they realize that traction and visibility have become diminished. (The Atlantic once published a story, "Distracting Miss Daisy," suggesting that speed limits cause more havoc than they prevent.)

In other Virginia State Police activity, the force recently announced, nearly eight months after a t-shirt belonging to Morgan Harrington was discovered, that they have used forensic evidence to link Harrington's slaying to the unknown suspect in a 2005 rape in Fairfax.

One hopes they're spending more time working the Harrington case than turning I-64 into a blue light district.

Read more on: Morgan Dana Harrington


Hey Gasbag: God's green earth don't have an "E" Greene county: far from Eden...

In my world it does.

We also say "doesn't", not "don't". :)

quote: "The most dangerous speeding going on is cops chasing would be criminals, avoiding traffic signals, not turning on their sirens, and speeding through town at speeds of 80mph. I was nearly broadsided on the corner of Preston and 10th several weeks ago by speeding cops with no sirens."

There's very few good things I can think of to say about the former police chief named Rittenhouse. But I will say he used to go out all hours of the day and night and observe his troops in action when they were out here hot rodding up and down the streets in the city. Sheriff Morris used to do the same thing in Greene County. (He parked in a used car lot one night where none of the troops realized he was watching them. HaHaHa! I spotted him because the red light on his video camera was on.)

Having said all of the above... somebody in the city cop shoppe needs to go out here and watch these young rookies racing up and down the streets of Charlottesville before they kill somebody.

ps - most of them aren't even on calls when they goose their engines and accelerate like crazy. The newer Crown Victoria received the Mercury Marauder airbox in the last few years. it makes an quite an interesting growl when you accelerate hard. And this my friends is what it's all about, the rookies like to hear this rumble and growl, IMHO!

This discussion leads me right back to the fine organization we call the Virginia State Police. You don't see their rookies (or veterans for that matter) driving like crazy. I think it's all in supervision and training. The state police will suspend a trooper in the blink of any eye when they get out here and act like Johnny Rambo Law.

The cities and counties could learn a thing or two from the state police if they really wanted to.

I also can't ever recall seeing a state trooper lying under oath in a court of law during my 30 year career in and around law enforcement. And trust me, that is saying a lot!

Sean, intentionally speeding while in a hurry to get from Point A to Point B is one thing. People do it every day of the year. But sitting at the bottom of a steep hill hoping drivers haven't realized they are picking up speed is another. While the speed limit is the speed limit, the downhill speed traps are just like dealings cards from the bottom of the deck. It's just plain dirty.

Furthermore, I have seen very few cop shoppe cars going down this same hill at 25 mph. The last time I tried to maintain 25 mph on this hill in a 8,500 pound vehicle with a cop shoppe car behind me, he ended up about 5 feet from my rear bumper, riding across the yellow line to see what the hold up was in front of me, and visibly irked beyond belief.

I see the speed traps as the "new tax" -- because people aren't making as much money, tax revenue is down. We have a governor who was elected on not raising the gas tax but instead -- get this -- deriving money for transportation from offshore drilling that wasn't even authorized yet, and selling the state's liquor stores (for a net loss of revenue in the long run). What did people expect, voting for that guy? The speed traps appeared shortly after he took office, and have ramped up since. I never saw speed traps along the interstates other than the loop around Richmond and along I-95 just south of DC like Prince William County and Stafford County. Now they're all over the place! Any questions?

The worst speed trap I have seen in the last 25 years is the stretch of East High Street going downhill between the Martha Jefferson Hospital and Joy Food Store. You have to ride your brakes the entire length to maintain the 25 mph speed limit, and the rookie working the speed trap knows this and uses it in his game. He's popping drivers all evening long, the ones who don't ride their brakes.

The speed limit is the speed limit, but this sure is playing dirty in my opinion.

Gasbag, not only in Cville!! I just went to go to the bank in Orange, town cop pulled out behind me in one of the wonderful Dodge Chargers (can you say HEMI?)....was on my bumper in a split second (I could NOT see his grill in my rear view, nor would I see it again)...speed limit is 25...I was doing slightly over (maybe 28 or 29)...and he stayed that way until I turned off, at that time he goosed the heck outa it and sped around me....had picked up someone cause they were in the back seat...just makes me wonder....where ARE they're supervisors????

GSOE: Beware similar trap set up occasionally on Avon Street, where they catch people coming in from the county at the city limits. Speed limit changes there -- at the base of a hill -- from 45 to 35. AND it's in one of those special speed zones, where they double the fine and add $200.

How about just going the speed limit? Problem solved...

Evening of the 4th several speed traps along 29S just outside Charlottesville city limits. Saw two drivers pulled over in the northbound lane.

OK, thanks!

Most of the time I am in the back of a police car when traveling on Avon Street. But it has been paying qyite well for the last 14 years, thanks to greenhorn rookie mistakes. :)

Guns kill people.

The cops forced me into a speeding ticket with a "trap."

The beheading in utero of an infant is "health care."

Pencils cause spelling errors.

Steroids cause cancer, but only to boys.

All these things make perfect sense in Charllotesville.

This article is ridiculous. This tone is nothing but snark. The actions of Virginia State Police on traffic detail have absolutely NOTHING to do with Morgan Harrington or any other felony investigation, not withstanding the fact that MANY individuals with outstanding warrants are caught during routine traffic stops. Remember how Timothy McVeigh was originally taken in? Is this newspaper turning into some sort of anarchist dribble?

Also, perhaps the reporter should google the definition of a "speed trap." I-64 is consistently 65mph.

As well as the definition of what "irony" means. A little too much Alanis Morrisete?

Maybe Hawes just can't drive 65. The Sammy Hagar Syndrome is a serious malady, you know.

WTF? The speed limit on I-64 is 65 mph?

How on God's Greene Earth have I never gotten a speeding ticket in my entire life? :)

GSOE: Of course, there's no indication as to how fast any of the cars were going that were pulled over. 80? 85? Good riddance to them then.

Also, worst speed trap in Cville is Barracks Road coming down towards 29. 25mph, very few signs.

Jake, sounds like you drive a bmw or a scooter.

The most dangerous speeding going on is cops chasing would be criminals, avoiding traffic signals, not turning on their sirens, and speeding through town at speeds of 80mph. I was nearly broadsided on the corner of Preston and 10th several weeks ago by speeding cops with no sirens.

Why doesn't Virginia (and every other state) set speed limits based on 85th percentile vehicle speeds like they are supposed to? I remember when it was certain death to drive faster than 55mph. Now I can legally drive up to 80mph on those very same roads.