WASATCH FRONT – No more Mr. Nice Trooper.
You might have thought, while driving, “I’m only going a few miles over the speed limit. I’m not going to get a ticket.” Well, the Utah Highway Patrol wants you to get that thought out of your head. Top brass within the UHP are instructing troopers not to be so lenient in allowing drivers to go five to ten miles over the limit.
Officials with UHP say the week of Thanksgiving really was a breaking point.
Sergeant Lawrence Hopper says, “Throughout the entire state, we responded to almost 950 crashes.” Plus, there were ten trooper vehicles that were hit by drivers who lost control of their vehicles.
Hopper says they pleaded with people to drive slower, especially since storms hit most of the state and dropped a huge amount of snow and ice on the roads. Hopper says drivers did slow down… kinda.
“Because we had people going fast, already, going ten miles an hour over the speed limit, they’re thought of ‘slowing down’ was, ‘I’ll go 70, which is what the speed limit is,’” Hopper says, adding, “Really, what we wanted them to do is slow down from the original speed limit, which is 70, down to 60.”
Hopper believes essentially all drivers assume they have some wiggle room in passing the limit. He’s frequently asked by people how fast they can drive before they get pulled over. He says, the rule is, once you go a single mile over, you’re opening yourself up to getting pulled over. In the past, Hopper says troopers may have let speeding slide.
“When you pass us going five miles over and we don’t do anything about it, the message is, ‘I’m going that fast and the trooper didn’t stop me, so, obviously, it’s OK to do it that way,’” Hopper says.
The Deseret News reports the UHP already pulls over roughly 300 people per day for speeding.