Speed Awareness Week to run July 31-Aug. 8
√ Speed-related fatal crashes increased 36% in 2020
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday announced New York State Police and local law enforcement will be increasing patrols to target speeding from July 31 to Aug. 8.
According to preliminary data from the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research at the University at Albany's Rockefeller College, unsafe speed was a contributing factor in 314 fatal crashes in 2020, compared to 230 fatal crashes in 2019 – a 36% increase. The 314 fatal crashes last year resulted in 365 deaths including drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.
"Our message is simple: Slow down and drive responsibly," Cuomo said. "Too often, speeding leads to avoidable and deadly consequences, and it won't be tolerated. Trying to get to your destination quicker is not worth putting yourself, your passengers, and all those sharing the road in danger."
This high-visibility enforcement campaign is supported by the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee, or GTSC, to stop speeding and prevent avoidable crashes caused by unsafe speed. During last year's Speed Awareness Week, law enforcement throughout the state issued 21,428 tickets for speeding and 30,273 tickets for other vehicle and traffic law violations, such as impaired and distracted driving.
Throughout the enforcement campaign, a "No Excuses" public service announcement will be airing on broadcast and cable networks statewide, highlighting the penalty for speeding. Additionally, the State Department of Transportation will have variable message signs alerting motorists to the dangers of speeding.
Data shows fatal crashes in New York caused by unsafe speed increase during the summer months with the highest totals in June through October. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speed was a contributing factor in 26% of all traffic fatalities nationally in 2019. Additionally, NHTSA stated speeding causes:
√ Greater potential for loss of vehicle control
√ Reduced effectiveness of occupant protection equipment
√ Increased stopping distance after the driver perceives a danger
√ Increased degree of crash severity leading to more severe injuries
√ Increased fuel consumption/cost
Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner and GTSC Chairman Mark J.F. Schroeder said, "Speeding is an all-too-common practice on our roads, and what drivers often forget is how dangerous it is and how much it puts everyone at risk. Shaving a few minutes off your commute or your trip is not worth a lifetime of guilt and regret from a speeding-related tragedy. By reminding motorists of the risks and the consequences that come with speeding, we hope drivers will think twice before stepping on the gas."
State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, "Safety is always our top priority at the New York State Department of Transportation, and we are proud to collaborate and support this important campaign targeting speeders. I urge all New Yorkers to drive cautiously and abide by posted speed limits, especially when driving in a work zone. Our highway workers perform important work so that we can all get where we need to go safely. Respect their efforts by slowing down and moving over so they too can return home safely each day."
New York State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said, "Studies have shown speeding kills. During this campaign, and year-round, we will work to reduce this kind of dangerous driving. We want drivers to slow down, put the electronic devices away and pay attention out on our roads. Attentive, responsible, defensive driving is the key to avoiding crashes and keeping our roads and highways safe for all that travel them."
Columbia County Sheriff and President of the New York State Sheriffs' Association David Bartlett said, "The little bit of time you save by speeding is not worth the danger. Speeding makes it more likely that you will be involved in a crash and even be hurt or killed in a crash. The sheriffs of New York want you to enjoy your summer travels in a safe way so obey the speed limit."
Chief Timothy Parisi, Ilion PD and President of the NYS Association of Chiefs of Police, said, "Chiefs of Police across the state are reminding motorists that unsafe speed remains a leading contributing factor in crashes. Police officers remain vigilant to speed violations in an effort to avoid potential tragic consequences; stop speeding before it stops you."
Combined with education and enforcement campaigns, GTSC coordinates various traffic safety activities throughout the year, and supports ongoing initiatives to improve pedestrian, motorcycle and bicycle safety. The GTSC also sponsors training for law enforcement, provides resources for teen drivers and their parents, and promotes seatbelt use statewide. For more information about traffic safety in New York, visit the GTSC at https://trafficsafety.ny.gov/.