CMPD: Aggressive Driving On The Rise During Pandemic
The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department says there has been an increase in aggressive driving in the Charlotte area during the pandemic, including a case of dangerous stunt driving last week that shut down Interstate 77.
Last Friday around 11 p.m., drivers blocked traffic on I-77 to perform burnouts and donuts in the middle of the interstate. According to WSOC-TV, the incident occurred near the Tyvola Road exit. The station reported about 30 Dodge Chargers blocked all the southbound lanes.
During CMPD’s weekly press conference Wednesday, Maj. Dave Johnson told reporters this kind of activity is not a new problem, but that groups appear more emboldened recently.
"Since the beginning, really, of the COVID-19 lockdown back in the spring of last year we saw an increase in this type of activity," Johnson said. "We think that correlates with maybe a reduction in overall traffic in streets and the Charlotte area."
Johnson said this type of activity has taken place on interstates 485 and 85, and on local streets. CMPD has partnered with the Huntersville Police Department, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol and the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office to target patrol areas where groups have tended to gather.
CMPD says since October 2020, police have been focusing on speeding and reckless driving violations on I-485 near Prosperity Church Road. In that time, 2,998 citations have been issued, and 1,165 of these citations were for speeds between 16 mph to 25 mph over the speed limit. Another 184 citations were for speeds greater than 25 mph over the speed limit. Three hundred seventy of those stopped were issued citations for reckless driving.
Speed has been a contributing factor in four of the 10 fatal vehicle crashes this year.