Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers in Troop F, headquartered in Ardmore, are targeting weekend speeders from the air and on the road.
Troop F Commander/State Crash Team Coordinator, Capt. Ronnie Hampton said the special enforcement program is already underway on Interstate 35.
"We were seeing traffic on Fridays and Sunday afternoon traveling incredibly fast and that is when the majority of our collisions occur on Interstate 35 in all four of our interstate counties ( Love, Garvin, Carter, Murray)," Hampton said. "Our goal is to decrease the amount of aggressive and dangerous driving and this will occur with strict regular enforcement."
The effort includes an OHP pilot and from three to seven road troopers.
"Mostly, we run ground units in Love and Murray (counties) with aircraft flying in Garvin and Carter (counties) so we have a presence in all four counties with saturation in two," Hampton said.
While excessive speed is the main focus, Hampton said troopers are also on the lookout for other violations.
"The pilot is observing the average time it takes a vehicle to travel 1/2 mile and provides us with that average (speed). They also are watching for vehicles following dangerously too close (tailgating) and driving erratically (weaving in/out of traffic)," he said.
Although I-35 is the primary target, Hampton said other roadways within Troop F are also included.
"We do this on secondary highways but not to the same extent due to the lack of traffic volume," he said.
How successful is the air/road campaign?"
"When we first started it was not uncommon for the speeds to be in excess of 90 mph with six or seven violators running greater than 100 mph. Since we began this, the speeds have decreased and 100 mph is rare now. The violator's speeds are in the 80's with a few 90's on occasion," Hampton said.
And, the current air/road enforcement program is just a prelude to the Troop F 2013 Crash Reduction Plan. Hampton said details will be released within a few weeks, but confirmed the plan includes "a variety of new enforcement tactics on I-35."