Dayton police grow concerned by extreme speeds

People caught driving at extreme speeds never lack excuses, from being late for work or just trying to see how fast their car will go.

A traffic detail designed to curb extreme speeds on Dayton highways last week found dangerous driving trends, said Dayton police Sgt. Gordon Cairns, supervisor of the department’s crash reconstruction unit. One of the drivers was clocked going 62 mph above the speed limit.

“During the detail, 88% of the citations that we wrote for speed were over 20 mph over the limit,” Cairns said.

The goal of the enforcement, conducted by the Dayton Police Department and Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Aviation Unit, is to reduce the excessive speeds seen more recently and ultimately to reduce the number of crashes and resulting deadly crashes, he said.

In Dayton city limits, the speed limit is 55 mph for Interstate 75 and U.S. 35, except for a construction zone on U.S. 35 on the southern end of Dayton by Edwin C. Moses Boulevard, which is 50 mph, he said.

Three motorists were cited for driving more than 20 mph over the speed limit in a construction zone while people were working during a brief snow squall one morning.

“Obviously, we’re mixing bad weather, bad driving behaviors on top of a construction zone with active people working. It’s just a recipe for bad news when it comes to accidents,” Cairns said.

Other speeding citations of note include a driver on Salem Avenue caught going 41 mph in a 20 mph school zone, and a driver on U.S. 35 clocked at 117 mph at noon in the area of Keowee Street.

The most common excuses people give for speeding are being late for work or for an appointment, officers reported. One woman caught going 99 mph said she was testing her car out, he said.

The traffic enforcement operation is monthly, and typically also involves the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and Trotwood Police Department. Cairns said the hope is that motorists decide on their own to slow down and obey traffic laws, whether it be to avoid a fine or for their own safety.

“We’re going to be out there on the highways and on the surface streets, focusing on these speeds and trying to reduce the speeds and ultimately reduce the number of accidents and fatalities we have in the city,” Cairns said.

Statewide, law enforcement reported a surge in excessive speeding when the pandemic began and more people stayed home. While traffic decreased 15% from February through July, when much in Oho was shut down, the number of people driving more than 80 mph on Ohio roads jumped by 30%, according to data analyzed by the state Department of Transportation.

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