Operation Border to Border – Six State Enforcement Initiative Aims to Reduce Crashes on US Route 15
(FAIRFAX, VA) – Six state police and highway patrol agencies this weekend will engage in Operation Border to Border, a coordinated traffic safety enforcement initiative targeting approximately 791 miles of U.S. Route 15, which originates in Waterboro, S.C., and ends in Corning, N.Y. The corridor is a heavily-traveled thoroughfare for summer vacationers and for those attempting to avoid congested interstates serving all six states.
Just as the summer vacation begins for thousands of students and families up and down the East Coast, state troopers from Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia will carry out Operation Border to Border to prevent traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities along the entire length of U.S. Route 15. For three days, troopers from each of the six agencies will work together, conducting saturation patrols, sobriety check points and other enforcement initiatives to reduce traffic crashes and combat criminal behavior along this major, non-interstate highway. The initiative begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday, June 7, 2013, and runs through midnight, Sunday, June 9, 2013.
This is the first time all six states have coordinated enforcement efforts to target U.S. Route 15. Last year, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia launched the first such joint operation. During the three-day 2012 Border to Border traffic safety initiative, troopers from the three states stopped a total of 509 speeders and 16 reckless drivers. Three commercial vehicles were stopped and cited for speeding in Virginia and North Carolina. Seven drunk drivers in Virginia and Maryland were arrested. Troopers cited 56 seat belt violations and 19 child restraint violations. A total of 24 felony and misdemeanor arrests, to include two drug arrests, also resulted from the initiative. No traffic fatalities occurred during the three-day project. There were three traffic crashes that involved injuries – all of which occurred in Virginia.
Driving under the influence, speeding, aggressive and distracted driving have contributed to motor vehicle crashes and fatalities along Maryland’s 37.85 miles of Route 15, a major north/south roadway frequently traveled by vacationers throughout the summer months. In 2012, Maryland State Police responded to approx. 700 reported motor vehicle crashes along Route 15 in Frederick County. These incidents ranged from minor fender benders to serious personal injury crashes. Fortunately, none of these involved a fatality. However, between 2010 and 2011, there were six fatalities along the Maryland portion of Route 15 in Frederick County.
Route 15 travels 12.71 miles into New York State, approximately half that distance is two-lane rural highway with at grade intersections while the remaining portion is a four-lane divided highway. Over the last two years the number of motor vehicle collisions investigated by the state police has remained relatively unchanged. In 2011 there were 37 collisions with one fatality and there were 36 collisions in 2012.The primary cause of the majority of these collisions was unsafe speed.
Unfortunately to date, the North Carolina stretch of Route 15 from Interstate 85 north to the Virginia border has experienced one traffic death this year. Two people died in traffic crashes in 2012 on Route 15 and five in 2011. The 158-mile stretch of highway experienced 309 total traffic collisions last year, which was a 16% decrease from 2011 when there were a total of 369 traffic collisions. Speeding has been the most common cause for collisions, with impaired driving also being a frequent factor.
Route 15 spans approximately 195 miles through central Pennsylvania from the Maryland to New York borders. In 2012, law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania investigated a total of 428 crashes on Route 15, including four fatalities. This marks a decrease from the 496 crashes, including ten fatalities, on Route 15 the previous year. The primary factors for these crashes include speeding, distracted or careless driving, and aggressive driving.
Route 15 originates in Walterboro and continues north for 159 miles to the North Carolina border.
From 2011 to 2012, Virginia’s 230-mile stretch of U.S. Route 15 experienced a 23 percent increase in traffic crashes. U.S. Route winds its way from Clarksville at the North Carolina border through Virginia to the Maryland border at Loudoun County. The highway alternates between two-lane, rural stretches of road to urban four-lane highways, linking the towns of Clarksville, Farmville, Culpeper, Warrenton and Leesburg.
In 2012, there were 391 traffic crashes on U.S. Route 15, compared to 318 in 2011. Five of the 2012 crashes were fatal. Speed, fatigue, alcohol, and illegal drugs have been the most common causes of the crashes investigated along the Route 15 corridor within recent years.