Police: 'No need for speed'
By Earl Holland
PRINCESS ANNE -- On a sunny afternoon, Sean Huffines and his co-workers -- Antonio Austin and Jeremy Smith -- stood outside in the grassy median on Route 13 near Perry Lane and watched cars pass up and down the road.
But this just isn't some way to pass the time -- they were looking for speeders.
"With the Memorial Day weekend coming up, people are in a hurry to get to their destinations," Trooper 1st Class Huffines said. "We're out here to keep the roads safe."
Huffines, Austin and Smith monitored for speeders in front of the Maryland State Police Princess Anne barrack Wednesday as a part of its "No Need for Speed" campaign.
With the upcoming summer holidays, troopers know who are the ones most likely to be speeding.
"Vacationers. Everybody's trying to get to either Virginia Beach or Ocean City." Huffines said. "We do get a lot of out-of-state drivers because Route 13 is a corridor between the other states."
The initiative to reduce the number of speeders is something done throughout the Maryland State Police, but the motto is the official slogan for Barrack X.
Speeding is only a microcosm of what the state police are trying to prevent.
Reducing the number of aggressive drivers is also very important. Aggressive driving is not just one distinct act, but any combination of speeding, passing along the shoulder, reckless driving, running red lights and failing to yield to other drivers. Any three of those infractions can lead to heavy fines.
Using a laser, troopers picked up a Toyota sport utility vehicle exceeding the speed limit. Austin then waved the vehicle to the grassy median to receive a ticket.
According to Huffines, both drunken driving and drug enforcement has increased, some of which are a result of speeding or aggressive driving.
In a 45-minute stretch, troopers stopped between 10 to 15 cars for speeding.
One trooper gets a reading on a motorcyclist going 86 miles per hour. Trooper Todd Jonischek -- who is riding in an unmarked car -- pulls the biker over and serves him a citation.
Although the number of citation warnings has increased this year, there are some statistics that Huffines is really glad to see so low.
"Our accidents are currently down and we haven't had a fatal so far this year," he said, knocking on a trunk top to prevent a jinx. "We want it to stay that way so everybody gets to their destination safely."