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Drivers on Interstate 64 beware: The Virginia State Police is out in force this weekend.

Troopers are being paid overtime in a federally-funded effort to keep Virginia’s highways safe, the VSP’s superintendent said in a press release.

The operation is called Operation Air, Land and Speed and is designed to discourage speeding and other reckless behavior, The Virginian-Pilot reported.

Speeding is the cause of many traffic accidents in Hampton Roads and elsewhere. My colleague Emily Mapp Brannon wrote in October about a fatal motorcycle accident in Chesapeake where speed was a factor.

“Speed and reckless and distracted driving endanger too many lives on the Commonwealth’s roads,” W. Steven Flaherty, the Virginia State Police superintendent, said in a press release. “Every motorist must remember to buckle up and drive defensively not aggressively while they are behind the wheel, especially during the holiday season.”

Troopers will be on I-64 – as well as Interstate 66 in northern Virginia – starting today and going through Sunday. They are using both marked and unmarked vehicles, as well as motorcycles and aircraft.

The Virginia State Police said that in December 2008, when the agency last conducted Operation Air, Land and Speed on I-64, it ticketed 251 drivers for reckless driving, 1,783 for speeding and 227 for not wearing a seat belt. The VSP also made 24 arrests for drunken driving, drug possession and other crimes.

“Unfortunately, the only way to get some drivers to adopt safer driving habits and behaviors is through stepped up enforcement projects,” Flaherty said.

(MM)

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