MURRAY — The Calloway County Sheriff’s Office and the Murray Police Department will be engaging in an enforcement and awareness blitz against speeding through July 13.
According to a press release from the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS), KOHS is partnering with law enforcement agencies across the state in a speed enforcement blitz June 30 through July 13. The federally-funded ‘Obey the Sign or Pay the Fine’ campaign intensifies enforcement of speed violators, with an emphasis on roadways with a high number of speed-related crashes.
Calloway County Sheriff Sam Steger said that CCSO would be utilizing federal overtime hours to increase enforcement of speeding violations, on top of CCSO’s regular duties, throughout the course of the campaign. Steger said that speed plays a factor in many of the wrecks worked by CCSO within the county.
“We are granted federal overtime and we utilize those monies to get out and provide additional enforcement during these campaigns,” Steger said. “We enforce speeding all the time, but during campaigns like this is when we really crackdown.”
Steger said that speed is not usually a primary cause of wrecks in the county, but that it typically plays a factor is most collisions. Steger said that while it is important to obey speed limits on all roadways, attention on county and state roads is important as well.
“Especially on our county and state roads that are hilly and curvy, it is important that people obey those speed limits,” Steger said. “Those limits are set in accordance with the terrain of that roadway.”
Steger said speeding could also bring along additional fines or punitive measures should a wreck occur. He also noted that speed limits are not speed requirements, and that drivers should drive a speed they feel comfortable with.
“We work wrecks all the time where speed is involved, and those are usually on our county and side state roads,” Steger said. “Just because a speed limit is posted on a roadway it doesn’t mean someone has to drive that speed. People need to drive at a speed which they are comfortable negotiating curves and hills and that roadway, and everybody is different.”
Steger said a common question he is asked is what the speed limit is on county roadways that have no posted speed limit. He said that barring residential areas, most county roads have a speed limit of 55 mph.
“I get questions on that all the time,” he said. “If it is not marked and not in a residential area, that roadway is 55 mph. But again, that doesn’t mean you have to drive 55 down that road.”
Steger said that motorists also need to be constantly vigilant for other driving conditions such as weather and adjust their speed accordingly.
According to KOHS Acting Executive Director, speed limits are established by Kentucky statutes.
“These limits are put in place to protect all road users,” said Siwula in the KOHS press release. “Driving over the limit greatly reduces a driver’s ability to steer safely around another vehicle, a hazardous object or an unexpected curve.”
According to the KOHS, crash reports and citation data indicates more than 32% of crashes in Kentucky involve a speeding or aggressive driver.
“We frequently hear from officers and Troopers that they would rather write a ticket than make a death notification,” said Siwula. “I assure you that the goal is not to write tickets, but to save lives.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (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.
Funds for the campaign were provided by NHTSA and distributed by KOHS to law enforcement agencies who applied and were approved for full-year grants. Each grantee was provided a map showing locations of speed-related crashes within their jurisdictions.