Deputies out all times of day to put brakes on speeding

A Santa Clarita Valley sheriff's deputy watches for speeding motorists on Copper Hill Drive. SIGNAL FILE PHOTO

Whether it’s triple-digit speeding or speeding when everyone else is in bed, local sheriff’s deputies are doing all they can to stop this life-threatening trend in the Santa Clarita Valley.

“We have to follow the rules of the road,” said Deputy Josh Stamsek of the SCV Sheriff’s Station. “And, it’s for the safety of the public.”

When brass at the SCV Sheriff’s Station noticed a trend this month in motorists speeding on near-empty streets in the early hours of the morning, Capt. Robert Lewis responded by assigning a special team of deputies to confront the problem. He called for specialized patrol units to be set up in the middle of the night along roadways frequented by speeders.

“At his request, motor deputies were to meet the needs of the community,” said Shirley Miller, spokeswoman for the SCV Sheriff’s Station. “He adjusted their hours to work early-morning hours.”

The results paid off.


This past week, in a two-day period, at least 30 citations were handed out, Stamsek said.

On one morning during the first week of operation, more than two dozen citations were issued to motorists between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. by two motor deputies assigned to the specialized patrol, Miller said last month.

On another morning the same week, two motorists driving on Newhall Ranch Road were cited between 5:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. for allegedly driving 90 mph and 85 mph, respectively.

Other citations were issued to motorists traveling on Golden Valley Road for speeds of 65 and 70 mph, Miller said.

Deputies assigned to monitor speeding use three methods to determine how fast motorists are driving, Stamsek said. They use traditional radar guns, lasers and “pacing” to assess speeds.

“With pacing, I can get behind a vehicle and determine how a vehicle is going a certain speed,” Stamsek said.

Success of the deployment means it’s going to continue.

But, dead-of-night speeding wasn’t the only trend deputies spotted in the past year: They also noticed triple-digit speeding.

Although it’s uncommon, deputies noticed and responded accordingly.

Triple-digit speeds

At least two motorists were clocked driving at triple-digit speeds – or close to it – on city streets recently in the SCV.

Speeds recorded for one driver reached 107 mph, the other 99 mph.

Deputies cited the two for excessive speeding and, acting on a zero-tolerance approach for speeders, set out on a plan to continue monitoring and conducting traffic enforcement throughout the city of Santa Clarita.

But, if motorists have to get somewhere in a hurry, why is it important they not speed?

“For one, it’s illegal,” said Officer Josh Greengard of the California Highway Patrol. “And, it could result in a traffic citation that could cost a minimum of $350, plus traffic school, and a potential increase in your insurance.

“Also, the faster you go, the less time you have to perceive and react to other motorists either changing lanes, pulling out from a driveway or a potential hazard in the roadway, i.e. debris, stalled car, traffic collision, pedestrians crossing the street,” Greengard said.

Stopping time

It takes the average person 1.5 seconds to perceive and to react to a change in condition, according to the CHP.  


  • A vehicle traveling 40 mph will have traveled 88 feet before it even begins braking. During braking it will travel another 76 feet.


  • A vehicle traveling 60 mph will have traveled 132 feet before it begins braking. During braking it will travel another 171 feet.

These numbers are minimum values for a vehicle in good condition with good braking efficiency on dry pavement, Greengard said.

“Lastly, if you were involved in a collision, the faster you go, the damage to your vehicle, your body, and the bodies of your passengers will increase,” he said. “Remember, the roads we share going to work, the grocery store and schools are the same your family use, your friends use, and your neighbors use.”

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