You may see more police patrols on North Carolina's highways this week as a statewide speed enforcement initiative is underway.

The “Speeding Wrecks Lives” campaign is being conducted in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. There will be stepped-up patrolling through Sunday to ensure travelers obey speed limits.

Julia Casadonte, the communications manager with the North Carolina Governor's Highway Safety Program, says speeding-related crashes are at all-time high levels across the country, including in North Carolina.

Last year, 424 people died statewide in speeding-related accidents. Casadonte says North Carolina is at a 50-year high in traffic fatalities, with speed being a major factor in those crashes. She says there is anecdotal evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic may have played a role in a recent uptick in crash statistics.

"People may be impacted emotionally. The roads were very open for a long time. There were more people staying home, so that meant less cars on the road, people were going faster, and then they didn't really slow down even when people returned to the roads," says Casadonte. 

Mark Ezell, director of the Governor's Highway Safety Program, said in a statement that enforcement campaigns can be key in decreasing crashes as the state works on more long-term solutions such as safe road design, safer cars, and quality driver education.

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