FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — In the last year, Indiana State Police have issued almost 1,800 citations for speeds over 100 miles per hour. With a state population of almost 7 million that may not seem like a lot, but Sgt. Brian Walker, Public Information Officer, told WANE 15 numbers can be deceiving.
Between December 2019 and December 2020 Indiana State Police issued 1,784 citations for speeds over 100 miles per hour on Hoosier highways, with 134 of those came from the Fort Wayne post.
In that same amount of time, ISP saw 882 instances that led to a misdemeanor charge of reckless driving, 46 of which came from Fort Wayne. While it may seem like Fort Wayne only accounts for a small number of those stops, Walker said that the numbers only paint half of a picture.
“That percentage may seem small but it’s just for the Fort Wayne post and just for the State Police,” said Walker. “That doesn’t include all of the other departments around the state that are also observing the same violations and taking action as well.”
According to Walker, those numbers are up from previous years possibly because the roads were not as congested when Hoosiers were encouraged to work from home or quarantine at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time ISP also reduced their scope of traffic stops to only those that were absolutely necessary. Those factors working together may have made some drivers feel that faster speeds are acceptable.
“It’s often hard to say why people do what they do,” said Walker. “You feel a little bit more comfortable in your vehicle and your actions because you feel like you’re in control but you’re really not. At those speeds, when you get over 100 miles per hour a sudden loss of control can happen at any moment.”
Now that traffic has picked back up, troopers are still seeing these speeding violations, and Walker said that has the potential to be even more dangerous.
“As the road conditions start to become more congested, people will still drive the same way and that creates even more risk because now we’ve got more drivers on the roadway and we’ve still got people that are driving at unacceptable rates of speed.”
Unacceptable rates of speed that could decrease the efficiency of your vehicle’s safety features like your seatbelt or your airbags.
“If I have a crash at 55 miles per hour, those systems may very well protect me from further serious injury,” said Walker. “However, at 100 miles per hour or above, those safety systems may not have an effect at all and that’s where we start to see the fatal crashes really start to increase because the speeds are much, much higher.”
On the flip side of the issue, Walker said 911 is getting more calls from people reporting unsafe driving. He said it is important that people continue to make those calls instead of losing their temper, especially if road or traffic conditions are questionable.