News 12 First at Five, June 29, 2007
Aiken Co., SC---The July 4th holiday is one of the deadliest weekends according to the South Carolina Highway Patrol. Starting on Friday they're getting a bird's eye view of aggressive drivers on the roads.
It's called aerial enforcement and it consists of one pilot and one trooper in the sky. They'll by flying over most of I-20 because last year there were 269 crashes and more than 40% of them were speeders. "My job is to observe speeding violations and watch traffic running faster than normal," said Cpl. John Valdiro with the South Carolina Highway Patrol. The driver's speed is calculated with distance and time using a stopwatch instead of a radar. "I time the vehicles between two 1/4 mile lines and it gives me the average speed, the principle is based on simple physics," he said.
Once a speeder is spotted a team of troopers and local law enforcement is waiting on the highway. The program was started in 2000 but was kept on the ground until last year because of budget cuts. "If we can save just one life then I think we've accomplished our mission," said SCHP Lt. A.K. Grice.
Extra patrols will be out all week and troopers will do another flyover on July 26th with the help of the Department of Natural Resources.