The Fairfax County Police Department Friday announced its version of a crackdown on red light runners, joining campaigns in progress in the District and Arlington.
Beginning tomorrow, Fairfax police will aggressively ticket motorists who make right turns on red without first coming to a complete halt. Lt. Col. John E. Granfield, the department's acting chief, called violations "a pervasive problem at most all our intersections."
"Rather than making a complete stop, we've noticed that a lot of people are coming up to a red light, making a glance, and without coming to a complete stop, carrying right on through," Granfield said.
Motorists spotted slipping through with only a nod at the red will get a $35 ticket, Granfield said.
Granfield said that drivers turning right on red without stopping are a far greater problem than motorists who dash through intersections just after the traffic signal has changed to red -- the infraction that prompted the crackdowns in D.C. and Arlington.
Some drivers have complained to police that they are terrified when they are the first car in line at a red light, Granfield said.
"Those people who do make the stop often run the risk of getting hit in the back by others, in this anxious hurry, who don't want to make the complete stop," he said. "People feel they can't stop and be safe because someone is bearing down on them and doesn't want to stop."
Fairfax traffic enforcement officers will be stationed at notably bad intersections, among them those near Tysons Corner and Seven Corners, Arlington Boulevard at Gallows Road and Arlington Boulevard at Patrick Henry Drive. Officers on routine patrol also have been instructed to pay more attention to red light violations.