06/24/14 — Speed enforcement effort is ending

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Speed enforcement effort is ending

By John Joyce
Published in News on June 24, 2014 1:46 PM

Drivers can relax their grip on the steering wheel this week.

Just don't press any harder on the gas pedal.

The Goldsboro Police Department operation designed to target speeders in high traffic areas -- known as Operation Safe Speeds -- is over.

"We saw a 2 percent decrease in speed overall," Maj. Mike West said.

West heads the patrol division and the Specialized Traffic Enforcement Unit, which ran the operation designed to slow speeders on East Ash Street, North Spence Avenue, North Berkeley Boulevard and Wayne Memorial Drive.

West said the minor dropoff in speeders might indicate one of two things.

"Either we didn't have a problem there to begin with, or it was enough that everyone got the message," he said.

Beginning in late April, GPD placed its speed trailer, the big box that flashes the speed of approaching vehicles in big orange numbers -- red numbers for those exceeding the speed limit -- in potentially troubled areas.

Sensors were placed on the roads to track the rate of traffic and speeds in these areas.

Once the data was collected, GPD put the word out they were going to start cracking down on speeders.

And they did.

From the end of April through mid-May, traffic officers issued 488 charges, 345 of which where traffic citations.

Infractions included exceeding safe speeds, failure to wear seat belts and failure to secure passengers, among other charges.

"We saw pretty much what you would expect, that during the morning commute from 7 to 9 a.m., and through the lunch hours, 11 to 2 p.m., speeds increased," West said.

After two weeks of heavy traffic enforcement, Operation Safe Speeds went under review.

West did not say one way or the other whether the operation was a success.

He did say that more than 64 percent of drivers average speeds of 35 to 40 m.p.h. down East Ash Street.

GPD deemed the high rate of compliant drivers, coupled with the 2 percent drop in speed violators, evidence enough to suspend Operation Safe Speeds.

"Right now we do not have plans for a next phase or anything," he said.

But don't rush off from the red light and think there won't be blue lights soon to follow.

"We're still going to be out there," West said.