Putting the Brakes on Speeding

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The Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department is compiling speed data in an effort to persuade the Mississippi Legislature to permit the use of radar.

Current law allows municipalities and the Mississippi Highway Patrol to use radar to catch speeders, but prohibits its use by county sheriff's departments. Only Lowndes County may do so, because it got private legislation passed a number of years ago.

Speed is becoming more and more a problem on county roads, according to the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department. Part of the reason is that more people have moved out into the county and travel county roadways.

Speeding is defined as exceeding the posted speed limit or driving too fast for road conditions. Experts say it is a contributing factor in the death or injury of hundreds of people every year.

"Unfortunately, we had a pedestrian hit earlier this week and killed in a traffic accident," said Sgt. Frankie Springer, an accident investigator with the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department.

"I've worked several fatalities where speed was a factor. This car right here is doing 60 miles per hour in a 45 mile zone," Springer said as a vehicle passed him. "Which in my opinion is going way too fast for the wet roadway, too fast for a dry roadway, but especially a wet roadway."

Crash test studies show how speed directly affects the force of impact in an accident. Sheriff's department officials said radar is a great tool and with it they can help put the brakes on speeding.