Virginia Cracks Down On I-81 Speeders

February 12, 1999

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Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore has ordered a state police crackdown on speeding on Interstate 81, where four people died last month in a multiple-vehicle crash.

As many as 50 extra state troopers may be temporarily assigned to a task force that will aggressively patrol I-81, reports the Associated Press. State police also will conduct a public awareness campaign and use aircraft to look for speeders.
Gilmore said that according to one recent report, 35 out of the 40 cars and trucks targeted by radar were exceeding the 65-mph speed limit. The speeding problem is aggravated by heavy traffic.
“I-81 is carrying as much as 30% more traffic than it was designed to carry,” said Col. M. Wayne Huggins, state police superintendent. “As much as 40% of that traffic is commercial vehicles. It was designed for 15%.”
Gilmore’s plan calls for troopers to saturate specific areas of I-81 for brief periods.
Safety on I-81 was the subject of a public hearing last month, called by Republican U.S. Reps. Frank Wolf and Robert Goodlatte. The hearing came two days after a chain reaction crash involving eight tractor-trailers, six cars and a state police cruiser left four dead and 26 injured.

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