It seems like a highway version of the hit television reality show, "Survivor."
Virginia State Trooper Bernard Boteler is assigned to the Area 12 Office in Warrenton. He said that speeders often try to outwit police by using radar detectors or laser-jamming devices - both of which are illegal in Virginia. But troopers here have adapted, he added.
Specifically, Boteler said that Area 12 troopers now have two different devices to help them catch drivers with a "need for speed." One of them is a VASCAR unit.
VASCAR stands for Visual Average Speed Computer and Recorder, Boteler explained. It is used to calculate speed by measuring the time it takes for a vehicle to travel between two points.
Historically, the state police have used VASCAR units for aerial speed enforcement, Boteler said. But the devices can also be mounted in cruisers. One state police cruiser here is equipped with a VASCAR unit, he added.
"We can use it while we are following someone down the road or from a stationary position," Boteler explained. "It is completely undetectable. There is no signal," he added.
For the past year, state troopers patrolling Fauquier roads have also had access to a device called a Pro Laser III. The hand-held device looks like a traditional radar gun. But instead of using reflected radio waves to determine a vehicle's speed, the Pro Laser III uses reflected laser light pulses to pace potential speeders.
According to Boteler, the devices are more accurate than traditional radar detectors.
"With these, you can look through the sight and pick out a particular car. There is no question about which vehicle you are checking." The device is particularly effective in heavy traffic, he added.
Initially, Boteler said motorists had a right to see the readout on the device when they were stopped, and a trooper had to comply. That is no longer the case, he said.
"We no longer have to show someone the speed and we don't have to hold the speed in the unit," he explained.
At first there were only two troopers in Area 12 trained to use the Pro Laser III. Now there are six qualified operators, he said.
According to Sgt. Franz Mahler, some Area 12 troopers participated in a speed enforcement detail on Interstate 81 and Interstate 95 this weekend. The detail has been dubbed Operation Air, Land and Speed II. It will include roving patrols, radar and aerial speed enforcement along both highways.
The first special enforcement effort (Operation Air, Land and Speed) was conducted July 7-10. The effort reportedly netted a total of 9,316 summonses and arrests. In all, state police cited 2,238 passenger and commercial vehicles for speeding and 1,131 for reckless driving. Traffic stops also yielded 22 drug arrests, which reportedly included the seizures of marijuana and methamphetamine.
The third and final speed enforcement detail will be conducted Sept. 7-8.