(WKBN) – As the Daytona 500 approaches, the Ohio State Highway Patrol wants to encourage safe driving and for drivers to leave the speeding to the professionals.

This comes after troopers issued 3,975 tickets to people going 100 mph or more in Ohio, compared to 2,205 in 2019 and 2,041 in 2018.

Sergeant Ray Santiago is with the public relations unit for the Ohio Highway Patrol said they also saw an increase in citations for speeds 20 mph or more over the limit. In 2018, there were 70,776; in 2019, there were 73,111; and in 2020, they issued 75,882.

Total Ohio State Patrol Speed Citations, 2018 through 2021
Credit: Ohio State Highway Patrol

Sgt. Santiago also said they saw a spike when restrictions were lifted and certain travel was allowed. The typical excuse from drivers was the roadway was open and they didn’t realize how fast they were going.

1:35 “When you get increased speed in traffic crashes, that also increases the significance of injury,” Santiago said.

Locally, 9,370 citations were issued on I-80, 5,674 were issued on I-76, 3,272 on SR-11 and 1,095 on SR-422. I-80 was also listed as a top crash route with 204 of the 1,099 in Ohio.

Speeding Arrest Density
Credit: Ohio State Highway Patrol

“Those are just the individuals that we happen to be around and stop,” Santiago said. “We do our best to stay visible and to make these traffic stops and be out there around the clock, holidays.”

However, it’s like fishing. A person can’t catch them all, so if a driver sees someone speeding or any other unsafe activity on the roadways, they can dial #677 and that will dispatch an officer to whatever is going on, something Santiago said they take seriously and respond to ASAP.

“You’re looking at hundreds of dollars when you start to get into some of these violations in excess of 100 mph,” Santiago said.

Sgt. Santiago said they understand that high of a fine is going to hurt right now with the pandemic going on. Some folks are either out of work or just returning to work and money is tight.

“When we have to make that traffic stop and issue that citation, it isn’t something that we’re taking lightly. It’s something that we’re doing knowing very well how it’s going to affect someone, but hopefully, it has a positive effect on their driving behavior,” Santiago said.

Drivers should also make sure their speed is appropriate for the road conditions. A couple miles over the speed limit could be detrimental if there is ice or snow on the road.

“Just last week, we had a Lisbon trooper that came within inches of a vehicle that spun out and came into his lane and almost struck him head-on,” Santiago said. “They were traveling at the speed limit, the trooper was. This individual took a turn a little bit faster than they should have and it almost turned into a tragedy.”