LAURINBURG — State officials say a campaign against speeding has not turned out as organizers intended.
The issue became at what level would a North Carolina driver be charged with speeding. North Carolina officials said the posted speed limit is the law.
But some media outlets and members of the public assumed that meant drivers traveling even one MPH over the posted speed limit would be ticketed, a spokesman for the state Highway Patrol told The Laurinburg Exchange.
“I talk about it at home, I talk about it with neighbors. I go to church and I have to talk about it. I don’t know where the one mile over came from,” said spokesman Lt. Jeff Gordon.
Don Nail, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, said that was not the goal of the campaign.
“I would like to apologize for any unintended backlash to your enforcement efforts,” Nail said in a statement. “The GHSP would never instruct law enforcement as to how and at what threshold to conduct a speed enforcement operation.”
Gordon also noted this is not the first time this type of campaign has been done.
“It’s the same campaign just under a different name,” he said. “No Need to Speed has been going on for years.”
Drivers still need to be aware that troopers will continue to do motor highway control, even after the campaign is over.
“We do speed campaigns everyday. We are focused on motor highway control. We participate in Booze It or Lose It, but we do drunk driving campaigns everyday,” he said.
His word of advice to drivers is, “it’s the posted speed limit, not suggested speed limit. We want people to adhere by it.”
Speed limits are set by North Carolina Department of Transportation.
Statistics show speeding was a contributing factor in 23 percent of all fatal crashes in North Carolina. Eighty-six percent of all speeding-related traffic fatalities occur on local roads – where the posted speed limits were 55 miles per hour or under.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a crash on a road with a speed limit of 65 mph or greater is more than twice as likely to result in a fatality than a crash on a road with a speed limit of 45 or 50 mph and nearly five times as likely as a crash on a road with a speed limit of 40 mph or below. About 14 percent of the country’s speeding-related fatalities occur on interstate highways each year.
“They are set at that limit for a reason and are determined by traveling and conditions on the highway,” Gordon said .
Maria D. Grandy can be reached at 910-506-3171.