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Back-to-School Brings "Operation Air, Land & Speed" Back to VA - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Back-to-School Brings Operation Air, Land & Speed Back to Interstates

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VIRGINIA STATE POLICE PRESS RELEASE

RICHMOND - Those traveling Interstates 81, 95 and 64 Saturday (August 18, 2012) will have extra company on the road with them - in the form of a blue-and-gray patrol car. Virginia State Police troopers will be saturating the three interstate corridors from border to border as part of Operation Air, Land & Speed, a traffic-enforcement campaign aimed at enhancing the safety of Virginia's interstates.

"As Virginia's colleges and universities start filling up for the new school year, so are our interstates," said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. "We know that increasing our presence and visibility on the highways dramatically decreases the number of dangerous driving behaviors - therefore decreasing the odds of traffic crashes, deaths, injuries, and delays for motorists."

Traditionally, Virginia's interstates experience a significant spike in traffic volume on the Saturday before the beginning week of classes at colleges and universities across the East Coast. As a result, Aug. 18 was specifically selected for the traffic-safety campaign in an effort to help all motorists encounter safer interstates during their travels.

Drivers are reminded to comply with speed limits, to always wear a seat belt, to avoid driving distractions, and to never drink and drive. Fatigued driving should also be avoided. Virginia law does prohibit drivers from texting while their vehicle is in motion.

Those heading off to school are reminded to carefully pack their vehicles - to ensure that nothing can come loose or fall forward within the passenger compartment of the vehicle and create a safety hazard for the driver or passengers. In addition, drivers are reminded not to pile items too high inside the vehicle so as not to impede one's ability to see out the rear and side windows.

On Saturday, state police troopers, supervisors, motorcycle units and motor carrier teams will target the entire lengths of I-81, I-95 and I-64. State police operational duties on other interstates, primary and secondary roads will not be affected during the operation. @

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.

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.

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