By Jessica Mathews /

A regional traffic safety campaign is being launched in Michigan and five other states to address increased speeding and crashes.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began more than a year ago, law enforcement agencies across the nation have reported an alarming rise in speeding and fatal crashes. To combat the disturbing and dangerous trend, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Region 5 Office are partnering with five other states on the “Great Lakes, High Stakes” campaign.

More than 30 municipal, county, and Michigan State Police law enforcement agencies will focus on speeding drivers through June 27th.

Michigan OHSP Director Michael L. Prince said despite the fact that there were fewer miles traveled in 2020, the fatality rate rose and speed may have been a key factor. He commented that they’ve said for decades that ‘speed kills’ and the alarming data for 2020 confirms that the faster people drive, the greater their risk of dying in a crash. Prince said they hope the increased enforcement will help change dangerous driving behaviors and save lives.

While Michigan has seen a 22% reduction in traffic crashes -- 245,432 in 2020 compared to 314,377 in 2019 -- there has been an increase in fatalities. Crash data from the MSP Criminal Justice Information Center indicates 1,083 people died from crashes on Michigan roads in 2020, a 10% increase over 2019, with 985 deaths reported. In 2020, there were 200 speed-related fatalities on Michigan roadways compared to 185 in 2019, marking an 8% increase.

Also in Michigan, according to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, in 2020:

• Out of male drivers involved in all traffic crashes in 2020, 6.4% were speeding.

• 15.2% of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding.

• 11.2% of drivers in the 15- to 20-year-old age group involved in crashes (4,650 out of 41,685) were speeding.

• Out of all drivers who were drinking in crashes, 15.1% were speeding.

Recent insurance industry studies show that about 112,000 speeding tickets are issued each day or about 41 million per year. The average fine for a speeding violation is said to be between $115-$135.