9 people have died on Highway 70 just in the last 4 months, according to the CHP.
In light of these numbers, the CHP is trying to both educate people about the dangers of speeding, as well as enforce the law.
On Wednesday afternoon, the California Highway Patrol did a speed enforcement detail using an aircraft in and around Oroville: the airplane flew above the highway looking for speeders; once it found a target, the pilot would radio to the officers waiting out on the on-ramp, who would then find the vehicle and pull the driver over.
The aircraft clocked one mangoing 106 miles per hour, and another man going 88 – he turned up to be a suspected DUI driver.
“I hope it makes a difference. We’ve been trying to reinforce the fact that the speed limits are set at that speed for a reason, we don’t set them. The state or the engineers do,” said CHP officer Ryan Lambert.
“There’s no way I was doing 106 miles an hour, it’s completely impossible in this vehicle,” said the driver.
“The aircraft maintained a visual reference of the vehicle throughout the entire time until we stopped. You could hear the airplane officer communicating with us saying ‘it’s turning left, it’s exiting the freeway,’ guiding us directly to the vehicle, so the likelihood that it’s not the right vehicle is 0 probability,” said Lambert.
“Lately with as many fatalities as we’ve had on 70, we need to reinforce these speed limits in our area to get that death number down. It’s 9 in 4 months; it’s ridiculous,” he said.
He says their goal is simply to get people to slow down and reduce the death rate in the area.
In 2 hours, the CHP pulled over about 15 people, all of whom got tickets, and 2 of whom went to jail.