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Sheriff’s Office to launch enforcement blitz during speed awareness week

The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office will commence a speed enforcement blitz on Thursday for Chautauqua County as part of “Speed Awareness Week,” a statewide enforcement campaign organized by the governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.

The intensified enforcement effort against speeding drivers underscores the severity of the problem, both locally and across the nation.

“Speeding translates to death on our roadways. It greatly reduces a driver’s ability to steer safely around another vehicle, a hazardous object, or an unexpected curve. Speeding drivers put themselves, their passengers and other drivers at tremendous risk,” said Sheriff James Quattrone in a news release.

In 2018, the most recent year for which final data is available, speeding was a contributing factor in 26% of all traffic fatalities in the country. More than 9,300 people were killed in such crashes, according to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In New York, NHTSA data shows that nearly one-third (29%) of the state’s 943 traffic fatalities in 2018 were caused by speeding. Further, 274 people lost their lives and 1,984 were seriously injured in these preventable collisions. The number of fatal crashes caused by unsafe speed increases in New York during the summer months with the highest totals in June, July, August and September.

NHTSA says 3 in 10 Americans speed. These drivers are also more likely to engage in other risky behaviors, such as not wearing a seat belt, drinking and driving, or using a cell phone while driving. In New York in 2018: 40 percent of speeding drivers involved in fatal crashes were unbelted at the time of the collision, compared to 11 percent of non-speeding drivers; speeding drivers were also more likely to have been drinking (38% versus 21%) than those drivers who were not speeding.

“During the Speed Awareness Week blitz, from August 6-12, officers will intensify enforcement of posted speed limits in various communities in Chautauqua County,” Quattrone said. “We’ll stop and ticket anyone caught speeding–especially on Route 60, Route 430, and Route 394, where most of our speed-related crashes occur.”

Forty-two percent (116) of all speed-related traffic fatalities in New York in 2018 occurred on local roads — where the posted speed limits were 55 miles per hour or under. According to NHTSA, a crash on a road with a speed limit of 65 mph or greater is more than twice as likely to result in a fatality than a crash on a road with a speed limit of 45 or 50 mph and nearly five times as likely as a crash on a road with a speed limit of 40 mph or below. About 15 percent of the nation’s speeding-related fatalities occur on interstate highways each year.

A NHTSA research report, “Analysis of Speeding-Related Fatal Motor Vehicle Traffic Crashes,” shows that a major proportion of fatal, speeding-related single-vehicle crashes occur on rural roadways. NHTSA considers a crash speeding-related if the driver was charged with exceeding the posted speed limit or if the driver was driving too fast for conditions at the time.

According to NHTSA, the economic cost to society from speed-related crashes is $52 billion annually.

“During this enforcement blitz, officers will be observant for and ticketing speeding drivers,” said Sheriff Quattrone. “Our goal is to save lives, and we’re putting all drivers on alert – the posted speed limit IS THE LAW. When it comes to speeding: Obey the Sign or Pay the Fine.”

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