In a major shift in traffic-safety strategy, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are pulling over fewer speeders and drunken drivers. Officers are spending more time preaching safe driving and helping design safer roads. That leaves less time to write tickets.
Last year, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police wrote nearly 7,000 fewer speeding tickets than in 2002, a 19 percent drop. Drunken-driving arrests fell 25 percent, with nearly 700 fewer charges. The department says it’s part of a move in recent years to emphasize solving problems as much as catching violators. Nationwide, police agencies are beginning to embrace the idea of using more than just enforcement in their approach to traffic safety, experts say. Chief Darrel Stephens said the traffic safety approach is paying off. Wrecks last year were down 17 percent from 2000. The number of people killed in crashes dropped from 64 in 2002 to 58 last year.