Taking aim at speeders

A Berlin police officer looks for speeding drivers, Aug. 29, 2014.

BERLIN, Conn. (WTNH) — There’s a clear message being sent to drivers in Connecticut this Labor Day Weekend — slow down.

“When speeding kills, it’s never an accident,” said Ed Hedge from the Connecticut Department of Transportation. That slogan is part of a new anti-speeding campaign in Connecticut.

“Giving tickets is never easy for any of us,” Lt. Jim Gosselin, Berlin Police Dept. said, “but we’d rather give a ticket rather than make a notification that you’ve lost a loved one.”

This crackdown goes well beyond the highways and major roadways. In order to raise wareness for this campaign you’re going to notice billboards popping up all over the state and they’re going to be strategically placed in rural areas.

Billboard warning drivers about speeding along a road in Berlin.
Billboard warning drivers about speeding along a road in Berlin.

“The driving force was the high number of fatalities on the rural roads here in the state,” Hedge said. The DOT says 70 percent of deadly crashes occur on many of the state’s back roads.

“We are finding the accidents on these secondary roads, on curves, on grades, and in areas one would not expect to see a problem, whether it’s an animal running out in front of you or a child on a bike,” Lt. Gosselin said.

118 cities and towns are receiving federal funding for this campaign. Berlin is one of them. Officials say the money has allowed them to put more officers in areas where people have died from high-speed crashes.

Friday morning alone Berlin police pulled over several people. Many were ticketed for going 10, 15, even 25 miles an hour over the speed limit, some of them in school zones.

“What they do is automatically get behind the wheel and take off, not paying attention to their speed,” Hedge said.

The campaign goes until the end of next month, and so far it seems to be working.

“We actually in the last month have found the speed decreasing on many of the arteries coming into town because they are expecting to see an officer,” Lt. Gosselin said.

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