'Speed Week' Campaign Runs Until Saturday

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A weeklong crackdown on speeding and aggressive driving was under way Monday across New York State.

As CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the start of the “Speed Week” campaign on Sunday.

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“Speeding is the number one cause of deaths on our roads each year and it is a dangerous activity that puts everyone at risk,” Cuomo said. “So slow down and drive safely or you will be pulled over.”

Authorities say about one-third of all traffic fatalities are the result of speeding. State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico said many of those highway deaths and injuries could be prevented if drivers simply slowed down.

“By obeying these rules, you can ensure safe and uneventful travel for you and your family,” D’Amico said.

As of Monday, state police were already out in large numbers across the state’s highways. Speeders have been caught clocking more than 75 mph where the speed limit is 55.

Emilio Ayala of Mamaroneck said he knows the consequences of speeding and dangerous driving all too well.

“My daughter got hit not long ago by somebody speeding, got rear ended, and they tore up the car,” Ayala said, adding that he is grateful his daughter survived.

“There are lives at stake,” one driver told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams. “That’s the most important thing.”

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Frequent highway accidents are why New York State Police have put the brakes on speeding and aggressive driving. They will beef up patrols in marked and unmarked cars statewide for the next week.

“Sometimes you only get one mistake,” Cuomo said. “Sometimes you don’t get a second chance.”

In addition to speeders, troopers will be watching for distracted or impaired drivers, people who fail to buckle up and drivers who violate the state’s “Move Over Law.”

Just last month, Cuomo and state lawmakers enacted stricter penalties for people caught texting or talking on their cell phones behind the wheel.

“Just in coming here, two people almost pushed me off the side of the road,” said James Edwards of Albany, “so I think it’s a phenomenal idea.”

“Speed Week” runs until Saturday to coincide with the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series at Watkins Glen International Raceway upstate.

The overall goal is reducing the number of highway tragedies, officials said.

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