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Life In The Fast Lane: As Drivers Return To The Road, GHSA Says Speeding Becoming A Huge Issue

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - So what is your speed limit?

If you do the speed limit these days - you are in the minority.

"We don't see speeding and aggressive driving as a safety issue as we do with drunk driving and even distracted driving," says the Executive Director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, Jonathan Adkins.

Adkins's group says since drivers have emerged from pandemic lockdown speeding has become an epidemic of its own.

"At the basic level, we have to teach people that this is actually something that can impact your life," he says. "I'm hearing too many examples of people who've been locked up inside because of COVID, they've done all the right things with COVID, and then they get out on the roads, and they're driving like crazy people and they're not surviving."

The GHSA is not talking so much about "routine" speeding.

"I'm not talking about somebody who went 50 in a 45, I'm talking about somebody like 95, 100 miles an hour, you're not going to survive those crashes, It doesn't matter what kind of vehicle you're in," Adkins says. "We're seeing traffic deaths go up and higher levels than they have been in 15 years."

Adkins isn't just talking about interstate driving. He says speeds are up on all roads and with school buses back on the roads it has become an even bigger issue.

"There's just less law enforcement on the roads and then they're less likely to pull you over because of COVID," he explains. "We hear from my members across the country that law enforcement are less likely to make traffic stops for a host of reasons but a big factor is equity concerns and the legitimate issues that are plaguing law enforcement around race and equity across the country."

WATCH: Enforcing Speed Limits

He says they are hearing from departments across the country that police departments are deemphasizing traffic enforcement to concentrate on other areas.

Officially, police will tell you if you speed you could be ticketed, the National Office of the Fraternal Order of Police when told about Adkins claims replied to KDKA with a: "no comment."

The GHSA says besides the need for more enforcement automation could be part of the solution. The GHSA is pushing the use of more automated speed enforcement cameras across the country. Adkins says when drivers know a camera is there, it could be a deterrent.

"What do they do? They slow down, and then what do we see - fewer crashes, fewer injuries. Enforcement works!" Adkins says.

He says they eliminate one of the major issues.

"Cameras are great to get people tickets because they don't see race they don't see gender, and they work," he says.

Pennsylvania State Senator Jay Costa says there is no current legislation being considered to use speed enforcement cameras anywhere in the Commonwealth other than in work zones.

As for the potential of passage if it is proposed Senator Costa says it's "not likely in my view."

Adkins says the issue of runaway speeding needs a grassroots organization like drunk driving has in MADD.

He says the legislature needs to hear the personal stories about how their lives have been impacted by speeding.

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