Traffic tickets up in Vidalia

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 20, 2008

VIDALIA — The Vidalia Police Department wrote 32 traffic tickets over the weekend, but Police Chief Tapper Hendricks said it was not because of a planned or directed effort to increase ticket writing.

Instead, he said many of the tickets were the result of complaints from citizens.

Though many of those tickets were on Vidalia’s main street — the Carter Street-U.S. 84 corridor — where the most tickets are often written, more than 40 percent of them were written in the so-called “Fruit Loop,” in this case on Apple, Peach and Plum streets.

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“I had people calling me from that area, saying, ‘My kids are trying to play out here, but there are people just blowing up and down the road and ignoring the stop signs,” Hendricks said.

In fact, all of the citations from the Fruit Loop were included stop sign violations.

Many people had made it a habit to skip the stop signs, which presented a serious safety concern, Hendricks said.

“It has gone on for a long time, but we are just tightening up a little bit,” he said.

Another area where an increased number of tickets were written was in the vicinity of Danny’s Lounge.

The police had an increased presence in that area because the owners of the establishment had asked them to send officers to the area for extra security, Hendricks said.

The citations issued in that area included loud music, obstruction of the driver’s view by a television and stop sign violations, among others.

On an average day, the Vidalia Police write between three and five traffic citations.

For citizens worried this may be a forerunner of ultra-strict traffic enforcement to come, Hendricks said they don’t have anything to worry about.

“We are not going to be nitpicky people,” Hendricks said. “We’re not going to pull someone over for just anything. It’s going to have to be blatant.”