Tactics aim to slow down bridge drivers

Nearly three dozen speeding citations were issued by the California Highway Patrol in a five-hour span overnight Wednesday, in the wake of a truck driver plunging off the Bay Bridge on the new S-curve.

CHP Officer Herman Quon said officers issued 34 citations for speeding and arrested one person on suspicion of driving under the influence between 11 p.m. Wednesday and 4 a.m. Thursday.

The stepped-up enforcement comes after 56-year-old Tahir Fakhar of Hayward was allegedly traveling at least 50 mph in a 40 mph zone while entering the S-curve, where he lost control of his pear-filled big rig. The truck flipped over the side and plummeted 200 feet onto Yerba Buena Island. Fakhar was killed.

Speed has been blamed in that crash and has been the main cause of about 50 accidents that have happened on the S-curve since it was installed during a scheduled Labor Day weekend closure.

Among safety measures implemented since the fatal accident is the CHP closing the two left lanes on the upper and lower decks during noncommute hours. Extra CHP units patrol the bridge and squad cars have been stationed to look for speeders.

Caltrans also has installed more speed limit signs, reflective striping along the edge of the roadway, raised bumps between lanes, and placed a grit covering over a steel portion of the highway.

The new tactics appear to be paying off.

“You pay more attention to your driving and see the speed limits, get out of your cruise mode and slow down,” Quon said.

Radar signs will soon be installed to show drivers how fast they are going.

The CHP will continue to crack down on bridge speeders, particularly in noncommute hours when people are more likely to drive faster.

“We have hundreds of thousands of commuters go safely across the bridge every day, but there’s just a select few that don’t pay attention, and that’s who these measures are for,” Quon said.

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