State police combat traffic violations

Eight thousand seven hundred forty one -?this is the number of traffic tickets written in 2013 by New York State Police in Franklin County, according to Major Rick Smith, Commander of Troop B in a recent address to the Franklin County Traffic Safety Board and this doesn’t count the tickets issued by the three village police departments.

Of the 8,741 tickets, 2,017 were issued for speeding, the violation most frequently cited by NYSP. Troop B statistics also showed 419 tickets were written for seat belt violations and 346 for texting/cellphone use while driving, all in Franklin County in 2013.

State police investigated 1,071 crashes, including one fatal and 183 with personal injury. Of these crashes, 29 resulted from driver distraction/inattention, and 25 were alcohol-related. Of the fatal crash, speed and alcohol were contributing factors. It should be noted that the deceased was not wearing a seatbelt.

Given the large geographical area of Franklin County, coupled with the myriad of duties performed by state troopers, the enforcement of crucial V&T laws that directly impact highway safety is incredibly high. In reality, compliance with vehicle and traffic law is mainly voluntary. Your chances are really quite low of getting caught for any infraction, as the chances of a trooper observing your violation is really small. It appears that we are not voluntarily complying, and enforcement is needed.

To combat our disregard for vehicle and traffic laws (VTL), troopers conducted 13 distracted driving details in 2013, resulting in 185 tickets issued and four criminal arrests. They also conducted one fixed driving while intoxicated checkpoint, which resulted in 15 tickets issued. However, the good news is that no actual DWIs were found.

State Police also conducted 21 dedicated DWI patrols, where the troopers are on the lookout for impaired drivers. These patrols resulted in 58 tickets issued, including five for DWI and one for driving while ability is impaired by drugs.

Underage drinking details were also part of Troop B enforcement. Twelve bars were checked, with 11 in compliance. Also, 39 retail stores in the county were checked, and all, fortunately, were in compliance. Bars and stores selling alcoholic beverages are getting the message, as compliance has been rising over the past number of years.

Seatbelt compliance is also part of the troopers’ enforcement measures. They conducted two “fixed occupant safety details”, resulting in 30 tickets for seatbelt violations. In addition to the “fixed” details, they conducted eight “roving occupant safety details” which resulted in 45 tickets issued.

Lastly, statistics from 2013 show that troopers set up 23 speed details. These resulted in 434 speeding tickets and also resulted in 10 criminal arrests. This is not surprising, as criminals tend to be more prone to violate VTL than other drivers.

Perhaps we can conclude from the above statistics that we need to do a better job of observing the laws of the road. Are you up to it?