FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — In an effort to deter unsafe and aggressive driving in Fairfax County, the police department is launching an initiative called Road Shark.
The Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) and Virginia State Police troopers will utilize "high-visibility enforcement operations" targeting areas with high crash concentrations to reduce crashes on the road, FCPD announced.
Deputy Chief of Police Robert Blakley said the county has seen an increase in traffic crashes and aggressive driving behavior, specifically since the start of the pandemic.
The police department identified hot spots where the problems exist the most but the intent is for officers to pay attention to traffic violations throughout the county.
"We're asking our officers when they're going from one call to the next, if they see a traffic violation, let's pull someone over and have a conversation with them," Blakley said. "In order to touch a lot of people, we're going to be aggressive with our enforcement but that doesn't mean we're going to issue more tickets or more warnings. It just means our officers are really going to be looking for those moving violations so that we have the opportunity to conduct a traffic stop, notify the person of the violation, and that person, what we believe, the majority of people will want to comply."
Police hope the campaign will motivate drivers to pay close attention to their speed, but Road Shark is not just about enforcement. Officials plan to engage with more public schools and the community to remind them driving safely and the risks of unsafe driving.
FCPD will roll out the plan this week, the first of four waves.
This is not the first time FCPD has rolled out a campaign to combat aggressive driving under the name "Road Shark."
The department rolled out a similarly named program in the late 1990s to "target aggressive drivers." A report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the program utilized officers in unmarked patrol cars, and said the program was conducted in waves every three months using 30-40 officers.
In a plan presented to Fairfax's Safety and Security Committee Meeting on Jan. 31, 2023 the "Road Shark" campaign is listed as happening in March, June and August, with an additional "Road Shark Speed Campaign" planned for July.
The car involved in a crash on Lee Chapel Road that killed two teens and injured another teen was going 100 mph, the Fairfax County Police Department said Jan. 24.
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