(Colo)- Drivers stayed off the roads in droves during the pandemic. Unfortunately, those who did drive were the cause of a steep rise in roadway deaths, with excess speed at the heart of many crashes. Twelve State Patrols across the west have come together again to partner as the Western States Traffic Safety Coalition (WSTSC) in a joint speed education and enforcement initiative on June 25, 26, and 27.
During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, driving patterns and behaviors changed dramatically as people drove less often and less far. Even with those dramatic changes, many who did hit the road were driving faster and more recklessly. Coalition members have seen the consequences of this trend firsthand, most notably a surge in vehicles traveling at 100 mph or more. Excess speed is a major factor contributing to serious and fatal crashes for drivers of all ages, along with speeding-related vehicle rollovers.
“Speeding drivers are the leading cause of fatal and injury crashes that our Troopers investigate,” said Major David Rollins, of the Colorado State Patrol. “Increased speed reduces your time and ability to react and leads to a much higher chance of getting hurt or killed if you are involved in a crash. Keep yourself and others safe by obeying the speed limit.”
While COVID-19 is today’s health priority, traffic crashes continue to kill and injure almost unabated. Coalition members have the same mission as health care providers – to save lives. 22% of the fatal crashes in Colorado during 2020 were speed-related. As the nation opens up and more people hit the roads, law enforcement will be proactive in helping bring speeds and subsequent crashes down. The partnership established by the WSTSC is initiating a coordinated speed education and enforcement campaign across western states starting on Friday, June 25th and concluding on Sunday, June 27th. These dates were chosen to help prevent risky driving behaviors leading into the July 4th holiday.
In July 2019, the Western States Traffic Safety Coalition was formed in response to evolving impaired driving issues in addition to aggressive and distracted driving and failing to wear seat belts. The Coalition members came together with their neighboring states to show commitment and emphasis on meaningful public education about the dangers of risky and dangerous driving behaviors. The coalition includes the following members:
- Arizona Department of Public Safety
- California Highway Patrol
- Colorado State Patrol
- Idaho State Police
- Montana Highway Patrol
- Nevada Highway Patrol
- North Dakota Highway Patrol
- Oregon State Police
- South Dakota Highway Patrol
- Utah Highway Patrol
- Washington State Patrol
- Wyoming Highway Patrol
ABOUT THE COLORADO STATE PATROL
Since our origin in 1935, the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) has focused on preserving human life and protecting property within our communities. Our 1,100 members embody the core values of Honor, Duty, and Respect in their daily jobs. In addition to our expertise in motor vehicle safety on the state’s roadways, the CSP is responsible for the Governor and other dignitaries’ protection, commercial motor vehicle enforcement, hazardous materials, homeland security, communications, investigative services, criminal interdiction, community education, aviation operations, and more. For additional information, visit us online at Colorado State Patrol or follow us on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or Facebook.