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Virginia winds down program that caught speeders from the air


Drivers in Virginia don’t have to worry as much anymore about looking to the skies for planes patrolling for speeders. The state is cutting back its aerial speed enforcement program, which issued just 87 tickets in the last three years, as it looks to trim costs and put its Cessna 182 Skylanes to other law enforcement uses. Operating the Cessna 182s costs $150 per hour in fuel and maintenance, and requires two specially trained people in the aircraft and one on the ground on speed trap missions. While the Virginia State Police is keeping its three Skylanes, most of the 600 hours of flying they did last year was for other types of missions, like surveillance and transporting officials. When the state started its speed enforcement program, it was averaging more than 550 tickets per year. Many other states have also cut back their aerial speed enforcement programs; Alabama and New York stopped doing it entirely several years ago, and California’s budget for the program has lost a third of its funding, with much of the remaining money going to missions like searches and pursuits.