Noticing an alarming trend of increased speeds on Connecticut roadways, the lieutenant governor was among those urging motorists to obey speed limits at an event Friday.
“I am here to ask Connecticut resident to slow down,” said Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz.
In a news conference held in New Britain, the Department of Transportation, Connecticut State Police, AAA and Bysiewicz addressed the growing issue of speeding, something that has become more problematic since the governor’s stay at home orders went into effect.
"Just because there are fewer people on the roads, doesn’t give anybody the license to speed,” said Bysiewicz.
According to the Department of Transportation, the percentage of drivers traveling 80 mph or more in the month of April has doubled, and in some cases increased as much as eight times that of previous months this year.
To curb the spike, the DOT is using electronic messaging on highways and has created public service announcements. These include messages from first responders, asking people to cooperate.
State Police are also cracking down, issuing tickets up to $379 with some including an automatic court appearance.
“I’ve directed my troopers to aggressively target those drivers who create a hazard on the highway and take enforcement accordingly,” said Col. Stavros Mellekas of the Connecticut State Police.
According to the DOT, with fewer cars on Connecticut’s roads there have been fewer accidents. However, fatalities are up. Between January and April, the DOT said there have been 87 fatalities compared to 62 last year.
This is not only a concern for drivers, but also for those responding to the accidents.
“Any crash that requires first responders means that those first responders are not available for other emergencies and further taxes our hospitals and our health care facilities,” explained Joseph Giulietti, Commissioner of CTDOT.
With that, the DOT has a simple message displayed electronically on state highways, “Help Our Heroes.”
“Please slow down,” said Bysiewicz, “The lives of our State Police men and women depend on it.”