Police catching speeders to cut down on crashes

The Illinois State Police said speeding caused nearly one third of all traffic deaths in 2014. Through Speed Awareness Day, it’s hoping to convince drivers to cut down on the speed.

Troopers said going even five miles an hour slower could save your life.

When you hit the road and you’re running late, it’s easy to drive too fast. Pauline Hurd said she drives just a few times a week, but she never drives over the speed limit.

“Because I’ve been in two accidents, accidents that were not caused by myself, but they were caused by someone speeding," Hurd said.

Joey Watson with ISP District 13 said speeding is a danger they deal with all the time.

"This is a problem that exists here for us. So, the faster you go, the more it hurts," Watson said.

It took about 10 seconds scanning roads to find a driver going 88 mph in a 70 mph zone. The next car we clocked was going 10 mph over the limit. Watson said added traffic enforcement for Speed Awareness Day isn’t about writing tickets – this saves lives.

Watson said when he was on motorcycle patrols with ISP, constant enforcement on roads actually changed driving habits in the area.

“When the motorcycle unit was at its peak of activity, we were at its lowest fatality rate in Illinois history," Watson said.

Going just 5 mph over the limit can make a life and death difference, according to Watson. Doing the math, Watson says if you’re driving 55 mph and have to stop suddenly, you’ve got about 242 feet or so to do it. But a car driving 60 mph likely won’t be as lucky.

"They’ve got 6 inches to spare! Whew, the car that was driving 5 miles per hour faster is now going to strike that object at around 30 miles per hour," Watson said. He said police know the majority of speed is cut from braking during the final five meters of braking. He said that’s enough to make a big difference in whether you crash and how bad the crash will be.

"It’s important for me to stay within the speed limit, not just for myself, but for the lives of others," Hurd said. She said she plans on staying within the speed limit and, if people don’t like it, they can always go around.

ISP hopes stopping speeders now helps make sure more people return home safely.

Officers around Illinois are expected to continue added patrols for Speed Awareness Day through Wednesday.

According to ISP, there were 348 speed-related deaths in 2014, or one every 25 hours. 

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