Fairfax County police said yesterday that they had ticketed 897 motorists for red light violations during the first 15 days of a crackdown, almost three times the normal number of such citations.
The increased enforcement, which parallels similar efforts by Arlington and District police, began in Fairfax April 1 and has produced numerous arrests for running red lights as well as for failure to come to a complete stop before turning right on red, a separate violation of Virginia law.
Fairfax police spokesman Warren Carmichael said that last year the department typically cited about 300 drivers for red light violations in a similar period. Most of the motorists cited told police they continued through the intersections because they feared being hit from behind by another car if they stopped, Carmichael said.
At one of the busiest intersections, Baron Cameron Drive and Reston Avenue in Reston, Fairfax police ticketed 75 drivers for the traffic signal violation.
Carmichael said that 28 of the tickets were for motorists who drove straight through the intersection while the light was red. Lt. Col. John E. Granfield, Fairfax's acting chief, had said earlier that drivers turning right on red without stopping were a bigger problem than motorists dashing through the light.
Motorists face $35 fines in Fairfax for either offense. Arlington and District police have not announced arrest figures from their crackdowns.