WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP) said it is catching more people pushing the speed limit across Kansas. Last year, troopers wrote tickets to 3,309 drivers who were caught going over 100 mph.
That is a sharp increase over the past two years.
|Year||Tickets to drivers going 100+ mph|
Trooper Ben Gardner, the KHP information officer for north-central Kansas, said those are just the drivers who got caught. He thinks one of the reasons people speed is the fast-paced world.
“It’s more common for people to have second and third jobs,” he said. “When one finishes one job, and then they’ve got to rapidly get to the next one and then when they finish that job, they’re rapidly getting to get their kids or get to their next destination just to make ends meet.”
He said the increase in speed comes as traffic fatalities are also on the rise.
“They’re increasing across the nation and our state right now,” he said. “As of the 10th of May, there were 121 fatalities in our state.”
He said that is more than Kansas would typically see at this time of year.
“That is concerning. Any time there’s fatalities, it’s concerning for the public, for the community, for first responders.”
He said that nationally, traffic deaths are up 10%.
“People need to adjust and try to drive safer and better,” Gardner said. “Be mindful of what they’re doing in their vehicles because they can’t control what other motorists are doing.”
He said drivers need to do what they can to protect themselves because other drivers are not.
“People are burning both ends of the candle, and then they’re doing things they wouldn’t normally be doing by multitasking as they drive, use their phone, they’re texting, they’re making appointments, they’re, they’re managing that downtime in their mind while they’re traveling and driving,” he said. “So to make sure we can try to just be accountable to ourself and how we drive our vehicle is, it’s vital.”
“Recognize that there’s a bunch of, what I would simply say, foolish and dangerous drivers all around us,” Gardner said.
His advice includes wearing seat belts, putting away distractions like cellphones, and heeding the speed limit.
“You can’t control when someone else puts you in a bad situation,” Gardner said. “You’re going to want that seat belt, so make sure you’re buckled up in advance to that crash taking place.”
He also said the distractions are more than just cellphones.
“It could be eating. It could be listening to music, having a deep conversation with a passenger in your vehicle, or, you know, in today’s world, dealing with your children and telling them to calm down.”
“When you’re the driver, you got to drive, and you really got to prioritize things,” Gardner said. “Say, ‘Hey, I’m the driver. I’m going to drive because there’s a bunch of foolish drivers around us that might put me in a bad situation.'”
He said troopers will continue to write tickets to deter speeders. But he said the public has to help.
“The reality is the public gets to dictate at times how much they’re violating the law and how much we have to, as officers, make traffic stops and try to get people to conform with what is safe and what is predetermined on the roadway,” Gardner said. “We’re going to do our part. I’ll tell you that first responders, troopers, and the Kansas Highway Patrol’s going to do what we need to do to keep our roads as safe as we can.”