(Millington) Mid-South drivers are racing toward a new record.
People more than ever are reaching speeds more than 100 miles per hour, many in 55 mph zones.
In 30 years on the job, Tennessee Highway Patrol Lt. Cary Hopkins has heard about every excuse for people making highways into their raceways.
“People have to go to the restroom, they are going to the hospital, they are sick, late to work,” he said.
But he said there’s no excuse for driving more than 100 miles per hour.
“I usually ask the question is there any legal justification why you are running this fast in this mile per hour zone and there’s really not,” he said.
Drivers in the Memphis area are on pace to hit a three-year high for speeding tickets more than 100 miles an hour.
Interstates 40 and 240 and Highway 385 are the most common for drivers to turn into their autobahn.
The fastest time clocked in Memphis is 120 miles per hour.
Drivers going too fast were also too furious when we showed up to their home.
Nobody wanted to talk on camera, but speeder Nakita Thompson explained why she was clocked going 100 in a 65 mile an hour zone. She was rushing to the hospital.
Excuse number two on Lt. Hopkins list.
“It wasn’t a big deal that I got the ticket because I knew that I was going over the speed limit. I knew I was in the wrong,” she said.
Jheramy Justice was clocked going 104 on Interstate 40 in Memphis.
He wasn’t home, but his little cousin was who says he likes to drive “as fast as he can.”
He said he also drives a fast car.
But officers don’t just find sports cars hitting triple-digits. It’s usually everyday cars.
Drivers in Impalas, Mustangs, Camrys and Altimas were ticketed the most by the Tennessee Highway Patrol for topping a hundred since 2010.
In the that same time frame, troopers ticketed 166 drivers for racing more than one hundred miles an hour in Western Tennessee.
Thirty-four of them were going faster than 110.
“It’s aggravating because it’s a safety concern for me as well. Trying to catch somebody going that fast you have to run faster to catch him so it’s a big safety concern for us,” Hopkins said.
Seventy-five percent of the tickets were written on I-40. Three in Lauderdale County, 11 in Shelby and Dyer counties, 13 in Hardeman, and 32 in Fayette.
The highest number is 94 in Haywood County.
“We’re looking at those numbers and hopefully with the holiday coming on, we are going to concentrate on that more put more troopers on the road so we are gearing up,” he said.
Gearing up to prevent potential tragedy.
“You just need to slow it down,” he said.
It’s a deadly cycle.
Speeding contributes to about a third of all fatal crashes.
So far, close to 900 people have died in crashes in Tennessee.