CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — Chesterfield Police announced a traffic enforcement campaign for the month of May following a deadly start to the year on county roads.
In the first four months of 2023, nine people have died in traffic crashes.
Chesterfield saw 22 traffic crash-related deaths in 2022.
In an effort to prevent future fatal crashes and make the roads safer, Chesterfield Police have reassigned about 10 officers to traffic safety enforcement for the next few weeks.
“When police cars are on the side of the road with red and blue lights flashing, hundreds of cars pass by that traffic stop,” Chesterfield County Police Captain Pete Cimbal told CBS 6. “If we can change somebody's behavior for a mile or a half mile, make them let off the gas or increase their following distance, we're preventing unknown numbers of crashes, just by altering somebody's behavior for that short distance.”
County-wide, Chesterfield Police said they’d be looking for speeders, reckless drivers, red light runners, and drivers holding their phones.
“There are a lot of people driving a little crazy right now, so it’s better to get more officers out there,” Chesterfield driver Eddie Mirroquin, who drives nearly 90 minutes to work each way, said.
Some drivers in Chesterfield told CBS 6 they felt like the police are already aggressive when it comes to enforcement and dreaded encountering more officers.
Chesterfield Police looked to alleviate concerns they would target specific neighborhoods or communities by making it clear the focus is on major roadways.
“The effort here is to be as visible as we can to as many people as we can,” Cimbal said. “We're not looking to generate revenue or anything like that. These summonses will be for serious violators.”
Since 2018, Chesterfield Police has given handed out more than 43,000 speeding tickets.
In terms of statewide ranking, Chesterfield is in the Top 10 when it comes to fatal crashes.
- In 2019, the county’s fatal crash investigation team responded to 30 crashes with 18 fatalities.
- In 2020, there were 36 serious crashes with 26 deaths.
- In 2021, 29 crash investigations for 20 deaths.
- In 2022, 39 calls for service by the team and 22 fatalities.
“Every vehicle crash is a traumatic event, regardless of somebody's perishes or not,” Cimbal, who was himself hit by a drunk driver on January 1, said. “I think it affects everybody and we really want to focus on voluntary compliance and changing people's patterns of behavior.”
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