Police crack down on speeding
The morning was foggy and damp, but that didn't deter speeding along Danbury Road (Route 7 South) in New Milford.
During his first hour on the road, near Faith Church, he wrote four speeding tickets and one warning.
Most drivers stopped that morning were traveling about 60 mph.
"Generally speaking, on this road, drivers will maintain a speed of 55 mph even though the posted speed limit is 45," Petersen said. "It's up to the officer on what his tolerance is for driving over the limit. But this is a no-nonsense day."
Through Sept. 30, New Milford police will be conducting enhanced speed enforcement, with the goal of reducing avoidable, speed-related motor vehicle accidents by 15 percent.
The program is funded by a $20,190 grant from the state Department of Transportation's 2014 Fiscal Year Connecticut Highway Safety Plan.
NMPD statistics reveal 70 accidents caused by "speed too fast for road conditions" in 2013.
Statistics for 2014 from Jan. 1 through Aug. 4 show 55 such accidents.
"These statistics reflect accidents where speed was the primary factor," said Sgt. James Dzamko. "In other instances, speed may have been a contributing factor.
"Accidents caused when a driver follows too closely to the vehicle in front of his and crashes into that second vehicle when it stops suddenly may not have happened if the first driver was not speeding," he said.
Statistics show 216 accidents in 2013 caused by following too closely, and 132 to date in 2014.
On that particular morning, Petersen used a hand-held laser speed-registering device. They are used by officers during the enhanced speed-enforcement program rather than radar.
"The radar unit registers speed of vehicles both in front of and behind the police car," he explained. "Both radar and laser are accurate for gauging speed, but when monitoring large groups of cars, the laser can pinpoint what specific vehicle is exceeding the speed limit."
The second car stopped for speeding that morning -- a white Ford Escape -- was registered by the hand-held laser as traveling 61 mph from about 300 yards, a distance equivalent to three football fields.
The four-lane section of Danbury Road south of Sullivan Road to the Brookfield border is considered a limited access road, and a traffic stop for speeding there is a misdemeanor offense, not an infraction, Petersen said.
It therfore would carry a higher fine.
"People don't realize when they hit this divided roadway that they're not on the highway yet," Petersen said. "It's still considered a town side road and the speed limit is still 45 mph."