Officers to crack down on Rock Road violations

Road rage. Speeding. Aggressive driving.

There's a litany of complaints about traffic on Rock Road, and area law enforcement agencies are banding together today to crack down on offenders.

A 24-hour traffic enforcement project is meant to catch the attention of drivers on Rock Road, one of Wichita's busiest streets.

"We get a lot of complaints" about traffic problems on Rock Road on a daily basis, Wichita Police Sgt. James Krok said.

But Wichita isn't the only place where Rock Road gives drivers — and law enforcement officers — headaches, so every agency that polices the heavily traveled road is joining forces.

The special enforcement begins at 7 a.m. today and stretches to 7 a.m. Thursday. Officers from Derby, Mulvane and Bel Aire will join Wichita police, the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office and the Kansas Highway Patrol in the crackdown.

Wichita's Patrol East will have a dozen officers monitoring Rock Road when they're not working other calls, Krok said.

Officers and troopers will watch for speeding, unsafe lane changes, aggressive driving, seat belt violations and driving under the influence.

The enforcement effort grew out of operation impact meetings local law enforcement agencies have begun having together to discuss issues and trends.

It quickly became apparent, Krok said, that Rock Road was a problem for every jurisdiction.

Rock Road is one of Wichita's most heavily traveled streets, according to traffic volume statistics compiled by the city. More than 28,500 vehicles use Rock Road south of Douglas on a daily basis, and nearly 27,500 have been counted regularly near 13th and Rock Road.

Those numbers stay high at points farther north and south alike: 26,300 near Harry on the south and 25,750 at 29th Street North.

Rock Road is also home to several intersections with high accident rates, Krok said.

"I call it 'wreck road,''' Jennifer Faulkner said. "I see an accident out the office window daily."

Faulkner works in the 1100 block of South Rock Road, between Lincoln and Harry.

There's no one reason for Rock Road's high accident rate, Krok said.

"So many things contribute to that," he said. "People on cell phones, people trying to burn that yellow light, people swinging out wide on turns."

This 24-hour project is an opening salvo meant to remind drivers to be safe, he said.