WINDSOR, Conn. (AP) — State police across New England on Monday launched the region’s first coordinated crackdown on speeding and failing to wear seat belts.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced the “New England Drive to Save Lives” campaign with troopers and highway safety officials from all six states at a commuter lot off Interstate 91 in Windsor, Connecticut.
State police in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine will be targeting speeding and the use of seat belts and child restraints on interstates 91 and 95 this week. Local police across New England will join state police for a second week of increased enforcement in August on highways and secondary roads across the region.
Authorities are calling the effort a highly visible mobilization and public education campaign designed to reduce car crash deaths and injuries. The six states also are using the slogan “Stop Speeding Before It Stops You” employed by the national “Drive to Save Lives” program, which was started three years ago by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
Speeding is a factor in 30 percent of fatal accidents nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“The message will be clear,” said Connecticut State Police Col. Brian Meraviglia. “Going over the speed limit? Be prepared to be stopped by a trooper. Not wearing your seat belt? Again, be prepared to be stopped by a trooper. If motorists decide to skirt the law they must have to be prepared to pay, perhaps with their wallets or perhaps with their lives. But it doesn’t have to be that way.”
In 2013, there were 276 car crash deaths in Connecticut, 145 in Maine, 326 in Massachusetts, 135 in New Hampshire, 65 in Rhode Island and 69 in Vermont, according to the latest data compiled by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. More than 30,000 people are killed on the nation’s road each year.
Vermont had the highest car crash death rate at 11 deaths per 100,000 residents, followed by Maine at 10.9, New Hampshire at 10.2, Connecticut at 7.7, Rhode Island at 6.2 and Massachusetts at 4.9.
“We strongly believe that this collaborative effort … will heighten motorists’ awareness and hopefully reduce the number of speed-related crashes throughout our region,” said Michael Geraci, regional administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “I ask the motoring public all across New England to take our message seriously.”
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