Drivers who stand on their accelerators may soon be standing in traffic courts as police across the state on Thursday began a crackdown on speeding.
The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) announced that police will be watching for fast cars, trucks, motorcycles and other vehicles through Wednesday, Aug. 7.
"Speed Awareness Week," the committee says, is a high-visibility enforcement campaign aimed at reducing speed-related crashes.
That's one of the campaign's chief goals. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows fatalities from speed-related crashes in New York dropped more than 15 percent from 2012 to 2017.
“GTSC is proud to once again support this enforcement campaign that not only raises awareness about the dangers of speeding, but also helps ensure the safety of all those traveling on New York’s roadways,” said Mark J.F. Schroeder, who is both commissioner for the state Department of Motor Vehicles and chairman of the traffic safety committee.
“It’s simple," Schroeder also said, "slow down to help make sure you and others sharing the road make it to your destinations.”
Throughout the crackdown, an “Obey the sign or pay the fine” public service announcement will air on cable networks statewide.
According to NHTSA, in 2017 there were 9,717 speeding-related fatalities across the country. According to analysis by the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research at the University at Albany's Rockefeller College, fatal crashes in New York caused by unsafe speed increased during the summer months with the highest totals in July, August, and September.
More than one third of speed-related fatal and personal injury crashes occurred between noon and 6 p.m.
New York State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said troopers know all about tragedies caused by speeding drivers.
"It's a daily priority to combat this reckless behavior," Corlett said. "We urge drivers to slow down, put away electronic devices and stay focused on the roads. Responsible driving is a critical part of avoiding crashes and keeping our highways safe.”
Sheriff's deputies also will be looking for fast vehicles.
"On behalf of the New York State Sheriffs’ Association, we encourage everyone to always obey the speed limit and always give yourself enough time to arrive," said Oneida County Sheriff Robert M. Maciol, who is also president of the sheriffs’ association. "Our message is simple and to the point – slow down, your family will be waiting for you!”
Patrick Phelan, chief of police in the Town of Greece (Rochester suburb) and president of the state Association of Chiefs of Police, said it is unfortunate that speed remains a large factor in traffic crashes -- despite concerted statewide enforcement efforts.
"We strongly support collaborative and dedicated campaigns like this that combine compelling traffic safety awareness messaging and highly visible enforcement activity," Phelan said.