Fairfax County police issued more than 2,000 tickets to motorists -- nearly half for speeding violations -- during a fall crackdown on aggressive driving on the Fairfax County Parkway, officials said. A similar campaign is planned this spring in an area yet to be determined.
"Operation Safe Speed," as the police called it, was launched amid much public fanfare Sept. 30. But it was suspended for about a month during the Washington area sniper shootings. The enforcement effort resumed in mid-November and concluded Dec. 2.
Police said they stopped 2,321 motorists and wrote 2,077 tickets during the 45-day campaign.
In addition to speeding citations, violations accounting for large numbers of tickets included failure to obey signs and signals and reckless driving. Almost 4 percent of the warnings and tickets were for failure to wear seat belts. Motorists in Virginia can be cited for that if they are not wearing the belts when police stop them for other reasons.
There were no traffic fatalities on the parkway during the effort. Capt. Jesse F. Bowman, commander of the Police Department's traffic safety division, said he was "relatively pleased" with the operation's results, especially given that officers were tired after working long hours on the sniper investigation.
Bowman said that he is still receiving letters and e-mails about the crackdown from county residents. Many of them praised the regular, visible enforcement presence along the parkway, which has reduced the number of motorists who speed, Bowman said.
The target of this spring's enforcement campaign could be Route 7 between Tysons Corner and the Loudoun County line, or possibly the parkway again, Bowman said, depending on reports he gets back from unmarked police vehicles that he will deploy to observe traffic in those areas.