The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office will conduct overtime speed enforcement to address a rise in speed-related fatalities.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic began more than two years ago, law enforcement agencies across Michigan have reported an alarming rise in speeding and fatal crashes,” the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office stated.

To address this trend, The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office and dozens of other law enforcement agencies across Michigan will conduct overtime speed enforcement between Dec. 1, 2022, and Feb. 28, 2023.

In 2021, there were 237 speed-related fatalities on Michigan roadways, an increase of 18.5 percent over 2020, when 200 people died. Nationally in 2020, 11,258 traffic fatalities involved crashes in which one or more drivers were speeding, an 18 percent increase over the 9,478 in 2019.

“The effects of speeding are deadly,” said Berrien County Sheriff L. Paul Bailey. “We see people speeding every day.  We are asking drivers to slow down, in your neighborhoods and on your local roads, to help keep everyone safe. You need to always obey the posted speed limit.”

In Michigan, the number of traffic crashes rose from 245,432 in 2020 to 282,640 in 2021, an increase of 15 percent. There was also a rise in fatalities (1,131 in 2021 compared to 1,083 in 2020).

Also in Michigan, according to speed-involved data from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, in 2021:

■ 13.3 percent of unrestrained drivers involved in crashes were speeding.

■ 10.2 percent of drivers in the 15- to 20-year-old age group involved in crashes were     speeding.  This is higher than the overall speeding-driver rate of 5.2 percent in 2021.

■ There were 24,555 speed-related crashes, which is a 10.3 percent increase from the 22,260 speed-related crashes in 2020.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, local roads are more dangerous than highways for speeders.  In 2020, 87% of all speed-related traffic fatalities occurred on non-interstate roadways.  Recent insurance industry studies show that approximately 112,000 speeding tickets are issued each day, or about 41 million per year.