By Jessica Mathews /

A speed enforcement effort that aims to address an increase in fatal crashes across the state is continuing.

More than 100 law enforcement agencies are stepping up patrols through the end of February following what officials say has been an alarming rise in the number of speeding and fatal crashes over the last year – that’s despite less miles being traveled as a result of the pandemic.

The enforcement effort is coordinated by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning. There has also been a decrease in the number of motorists wearing seatbelts.

There were 200 speed-related fatalities in 2020 on Michigan roadways, compared to 185 in 2019 – marking an 8% increase. Officials say crash data further shows that speed may have been a factor in many of the preventable crashes.

OHSP Communications Specialist Dennis Raymo said speed kills and the numbers really reflect that – adding he doesn’t know if there’s been a change in attitude but they want to raise awareness and educate people about the dangers of speeding and other risky behaviors.

The campaign is supported by federal traffic safety funds.