The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office uses traffic enforcement to encourage safety through education. We blogged about our continual effort involving education, engineering and enforcement in December (you can read about it by clicking here).
The Traffic Unit spends extra time each week focusing on the top crash locations as determined by our Intelligence Unit. This extra enforcement led to a recent reduction in the crash numbers at Kings Highway and Veterans Blvd, an intersection that was recently the topic of conversation in our local media.
Traffic stops are inherently dangerous for deputies. Deputies are injured every year while conducting a “routine” traffic stop. Not only does the deputy have to remain alert for unknown dangers inside the stopped vehicle, but they must also remain aware of their surroundings, to include distracted motorists passing their traffic stop location – especially when the stop is on a busy road.
We have received some feedback questioning the locations of our traffic stops, specifically whether the enforcement creates more problems at an already congested intersection such as Kings Highway and Veterans Blvd. Our deputies do their best to initiate traffic stops in locations that are safe for the violator, the deputy, and for passing traffic. It is not a perfect science – sometimes drivers stop earlier than expected when they see emergency lights, or choose to change lanes and stop in a position that is not ideal.
Traffic stops are a frequent – and probably the most visible – law enforcement activity that occurs in our county. There are three primary purposes for every traffic stop, and they all relate back to safety on the roadways. The first is to stop a violation of the law for public safety. The second purpose of the stop is to serve as a general deterrent to other drivers. A deputy’s visible presence with a vehicle at the roadside has this symbolic effect on other drivers. The third purpose – and most important – is to modify the driver’s future driving behavior.
If a deputy stops you, acknowledge the command promptly. Signal that you are going to pull over, but do so as soon as you can SAFELY manage it. Especially at the interstate interchanges, it may make sense to skip the on-ramp and pull over on the side of the actual roadway. This allows the traffic stop to take place in a safer place for everyone involved.
We are invested in our roadways being safe to travel for all modes of transportation. We encourage drivers to stay alert, be patient, and use caution in the areas we highlight as top crash locations.
You will find information on traffic enforcement and reporting at https://www.ccso.org/forms/default.cfm#TrafficRequest.