‘A Safer 26 in ’24’ campaign showing strong results

June 4, 2024

‘A Safer 26 in ’24’ campaign showing strong results

Since being launched by Johnson City Police Chief Billy Church on January 26, statistics from the multi-jurisdictional ‘A Safer 26 in ‘24’ campaign show strong results. The Johnson City Police Department is working with the Tennessee Highway Patrol and other state agencies, as well as area law enforcement teams, to increase patrols to promote traffic safety on Interstate 26.

“This campaign is a direct result of communication with the community,” said Chief Church. “Those served by the JCPD told us they wanted a safer interstate. We are working to provide that for drivers in Johnson City and across our region by increasing patrols and partnering with state and local agencies.”    

During the first four full months of the campaign (Jan. 26 – May 27), officers with the JCPD recorded nearly 1,600 (1,595) traffic stops. Speeding was the top offense. During the same time period in 2023, traffic stops totaled 575.

With an increase in traffic stops during the campaign, the JCPD is also reporting increases in the numbers of citations and warnings issued. From Jan. 26 through May 27, 2024, officers gave 600 written and verbal warnings compared to 201 for the same time period in 2023. As for citations, officers wrote 932 during the first four months of the campaign, an increase of 606 from the same period in 2023.

“When we make more traffic stops, officers will issue more tickets, but they’re also giving drivers some leniency by issuing more warnings,” explained Chief Church. ‘A Safer 26 in ‘24’ is a campaign to make drivers aware, to change their bad habits, and save lives.”

From Jan. 26 through May 27, the JCPD reported one fatality on I-26. During the same period in 2023, there were three. JCPD recorded 108 crashes during the first four months of the campaign, compared to 153 during the same time period in 2023.

“During this campaign, the number of deaths and the number of crashes on I-26 have declined. We are grateful for that,” said Chief Church. “The JCPD will continue enhanced traffic enforcement on I-26, but to make this campaign successful, we also need the help of motorists. That means following the speed limit, maintaining a safe distance between you and the driver ahead, keeping your eyes on the road and not a phone, and designating a driver if you plan to drink.”