CTDOT and State Police Launch Please Do Not Speed Initiative
The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) and the Connecticut State Police today announced an initiative using electronic highway signs aimed at getting drivers to slow down during the COVID-19 crisis, which has sharply reduced highway traffic volumes, and, at the same time, resulted in a spike in speeding, as well as extreme and dangerously high speeds.
New highway messages, posted this week, read, “Help Our Heroes – Please Don’t Speed.” They were introduced at a press event today in New Britain.
Statewide data currently show that during the month of April, at many locations the percentage of drivers traveling faster than 80 mph has doubled, and in some cases has increased as much as 8-fold when compared to preceding months of 2020 – this includes locations where the speed limit is 55 mph.
A more in-depth year over year analysis of data for sites on Route 15 and Interstate 95 indicates that despite a drop in volume of 52 percent from the previous two-year April average, the number of vehicles traveling more than 80 mph has increased 94 percent; an additional 122,676 vehicles for the month over the previous two-year average.
Currently, highway travel should be restricted to essential trips only so that frontline employees – nurses, nursing home staff, grocery store workers, public transit workers – can get to work. CTDOT highway projects are continuing on schedule during this period, which means that those in work zones are also at increased risk with higher speeds. The reduction in traffic volumes has allow for increased lane closures and enhanced traffic configurations in work zones to afford increased productivity, with no negative impacts to traffic flow.
"As our maintenance crews and troopers continue to keep our highways safe during COVID-19, drivers can honor their service and sacrifice by simply slowing down," Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz said. "Our state, our country, and our world has already experienced so much loss and hardship together over the last few months due this pandemic. The last thing we need is more senseless tragedy. Let's do our part by being safe, responsible drivers and following the speed limit."
“With the coronavirus pandemic impacting every aspect of our lives, now is not the time for dangerous, reckless driver behavior that endangers the public, our maintenance and construction crews, and the critical workers we are all relying on to provide medical care and essential services necessary for the state to recover," said CTDOT Commissioner Joe Giulietti. "Our state, and our nation, have suffered tremendous loss from COVID-19. Every driver on the road can help prevent more senseless death, injuries and strain on our first responders and the healthcare professionals that are working tirelessly to combat this virus. We are appealing to the public on a personal level – now more than ever - please recognize the impact of speeding and extreme speeding on every family and every person in this state. Please don’t speed, and together, we’ll get through this.”
“Our troopers are reporting that the reduced traffic volumes have resulted more drivers taking advantage of the open road. It may be tempting for operators to exceed the posted limit, but we remind them that extreme speeds put everyone at risk: themselves, the general public, road crews and our first responders,” said Connecticut State Police Colonel Stavros Mellekas. “We always recommend giving yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination so that rushing is unnecessary. COVID-19 has put enough strain on our community, we don’t need to amplify that with preventable traffic fatalities. Your Connecticut State Troopers ask each and every driver to be safe, courteous and respectful of others by obeying the speed limit and all traffic laws.”
New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart said, “As life slowly gets back to normal, more and more individuals will be out on our roadways. These are not just motorists, but cyclists and walkers. Now is a good time to remember to use patience and obey all speed limits so we can keep everyone safe.”
“Even when there are no other cars on the road, speeding increases the risk of a crash and, the greater the speed, the more likely that crash will be fatal,” says Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in Greater Hartford. “AAA research indicates speeding from place to place doesn’t significantly save time – but not speeding saves lives. Please do your part.”
With Spring emerging, significantly more people – especially children and families – are taking to the outdoors to walk and bike at levels previously unseen. Bicyclists and pedestrians are vulnerable users, and that doesn't mix well with speeding cars and dangerous drivers.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS
TELEPHONE: (860) 594-3062
FAX: (860) 594-3065
WEB SITE: www.ct.gov/dot