Jessica Mathews /

Local law enforcement agencies and others across the state are cracking down on motorists as part of a regional traffic safety campaign that aims to stem a troubling rise in speed-related fatalities.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began more than two years 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 (OHSP) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Region 5 Office have once again partnered for the “Great Lakes, High Stakes” campaign.

Officials say the hope is that increased enforcement will help change dangerous driving behaviors and save lives.

OHSP Communications Representative Dennis Raymo says since the pandemic, things have really gotten scary out on the roads and they’re trying to combat the excessive speeding that’s going on through enforcement campaigns such as this. He said there are a lot of “lead-foots” out there and people who are ignoring the speed limit and just going as fast as they want so they’re really trying to combat that and keep everybody safe.

Raymo commented further that the statistics are scary and it’s something that’s becoming a problem across the nation. In Michigan alone, he says there were 200 speed-related fatalities last year, up from 185 in 2019. While they don’t have concrete numbers for 2021 yet, Raymo says early indicators show those numbers are also rising.

Raymo told WHMI that from 2020 to 2021, the number of crashes rose from about 245,000 to 282,000 across the state, marking an increase of 15.1%. He says they ask that motorists stay alert, take it easy and slow down, and wear their seatbelts.

The Office says the average fine for a speeding violation ranges between $115 and $135.

The “Great Lakes, High Stakes” campaign runs through Sunday.