CHP to accelerate enforcement

Last updated: Wednesday, Jun 15, 2005 - 06:57:15 am PDT

It only takes a minute for anyone traveling Interstate 5 to realize traffic zips along close to 80 mph, but not today.

Starting at 6 a.m., the California Highway Patrol began a zero-tolerance day for drivers going over the posted 70 mph speed limit.

As part of a 24-hour statewide effort called "Border to Border," officers will be out in force on I-5 until 6 a.m. Thursday to deter speeding.

Anyone caught speeding can expect a ticket, and officers who patrol I-5 think the effort is a good idea.

"Everybody is over 70 mph," said CHP officer Doug Carraway, who has patrolled the Tracy area of I-5 for the last six years. "It's a safety issue. They go whizzing along at 90 mph and don't realize it."

Handling the morning traffic, CHP officer Gary Burlingame agreed that speeding is a problem on I-5.

"It's a constant problem," Burlingame said. "They say they are going with the flow of traffic and don't realize they were going that fast."

Patrol officers said they have stopped cars going well over 70 mph, and on occasion more than 100 mph.

On Tuesday afternoon Carraway caught a Citrus Heights man on his radar gun going 95 mph on I-5 in a rented Nissan Armada. The man did not dispute his speed.

This scenario will likely be played out again and again today from San Diego to the Oregon border along I-5.

According to a Tracy Superior Court traffic clerk, speeding fines can be costly. Some tickets can be for less than $100, while others can be several hundred. Among the deciding factors are how fast someone went over the speed limit and for how long.

A formula used by the courts to figure out a speeding infraction is a $10 flat fee for the first five miles over the speed limit and an additional $10 for every five miles over that.

When it comes to I-5 crashes, Carraway said, "Most everything out here is speed-related."

Tracy CHP statistics for I-5 show officers wrote 1,580 speeding tickets in 2004, CHP spokesman officer Robert Rickman said. Out of those tickets, he said, 74 had resulted in accidents, with one fatality.

So far this year, he said, CHP officers have issued 583 tickets on I-5 with 36 speed-related crashes.