Too Fast, Too Furious

On a cloudy afternoon Tuesday, state police trooper Cliff Beaumont Jr. parked his patrol car at a U-turn on Interstate 86, eyeing oncoming traffic.

Beaumont has been assigned to the Southern Tier Expressway since 2008. He stays busy patrolling a stretch of interstate from the Pennsylvania border to Salamanca, looking for traffic violations.

“I’m really big on enforcing traffic safety,” the veteran trooper said inside his vehicle. “Speed plays a big role in the number of crashes we see.”

Within five minutes, a fast-moving silver sedan was seen coming around the curve. The vehicle was stopped less than 30 seconds later by Beaumont.

“All of these crashes that involve speed are avoidable,” Beaumont said. “We’re also looking for other things, too. We’re looking at seat belts, registration and cellphones.”

Speeding and aggressive driving are being targeted as part of a weeklong campaign by state police. Through Saturday, the enforcement detail will mean more troopers patrolling Chautauqua County roads.

One area in particular that will be scrutinized for speeding drivers, according to State Police at Jamestown, will be the interstate.

“We will have extra patrols out there dedicated to speed details,” said state police Sgt. Scott Thayer. “Speeding is the No. 1 cause of deaths on the road.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the “Speed Week” campaign to coincide with NASCAR racing at Watkins Glen International last Sunday.

The governor said police “will be increasing enforcement to put the brakes on drivers who ignore the law and speed. So slow down and drive safely or you will be pulled over.”

According to Cuomo, one-third of all fatal vehicle crashes in the state involve speeding. Distracted and impaired driving play a role in crashes as well, the governor noted.

Joseph D’Amico of the State Police said, “Many of our highway deaths and injuries could be prevented if drivers would comply with speed limits and other rules of the road. … By obeying these rules you can ensure safe and uneventful travel for you and your family.”