Extra patrols could mean more traffic tickets in Winston-Salem

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C -- An unusually high number of traffic related deaths this year has the Winston-Salem Police Department beefing up its patrols.

Police Chief Scott Cunningham said there have been nine deaths so far in 2012 as compared to 19 in all of 2011.

"Traffic is a major problem right now," Cunningham said. "There is a variety of reasons. Many of them are single vehicle accidents. There has been alcohol involved, and there has been speed involved with some."

On Jonestown and Country Club Road, Cherry Street, University Parkway, Business I-40 and many other major Winston-Salem Streets, the chief said drivers should expect to see more officers.

Most officers have been told to do nothing but look out for distracted drivers--those running stop signs, speeding or texting behind the wheel.

"We are picking up the pace on it," said Cunningham, who believes that a more visible presence will slow down drivers and remind them to obey the law.

People like Tom Lambert are noticing.

"I've just seen more of a presence," Lambert said. "It reminds me to slow down and makes me feel safer knowing that they are out there."

However, some drivers don't think writing tickets will solve the problem.

"Giving tickets might do it, but I don't think going to the area after a fatal wreck is going to cure the problem," said Robert Sappington.

While Cunningham will not say how long the beefed up patrols will last, he said drivers should expect to see more officers on the lookout for at least the next week.

"If we can do it through visible deterrence, that's even better than having to write the ticket," Cunningham said.