Tennessee, Arkansas cracking down on speeders this week

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Drivers listen up, law enforcement agencies are cracking down on speeding this week as part of a regional speed enforcement campaign.

Both the state of Tennessee and Arkansas are participating.

Five states participating: Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Florida and South Carolina. The states looked at traffic fatality data about two years ago and noticed a trend behind a lot of fatal crashes.

The data showed that drivers in these crashes were not impaired and were wearing a seatbelt, said Brenda Jones with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office. The main factor in the increase in fatalities was speed.

“We’re looking for voluntary compliance. We’re seeking to change driver behavior," Jones said.

Officers say speeding is one of the biggest factors behind traffic crashes.

Captain Eddie Adamson, with the St. Francis County Sheriff's Office, points out how he tracks speeders in front, beside and behind him as we rode along to a construction site on I-40.

"Every time we stop someone in a construction zone for speeding we let them know we had a lot of accidents out there, including some fatalities," he said.

He says they've had major issues in St. Francis County.

"People are not paying attention to the speed limit changing. There are a lot of rear-end accidents," Captain Adamson said. "Generally, we won't sit here very long and someone will hit 80 miles or more."

Within minutes, it happened.

"Like the one right here, going 81 or 82. If you don't mind, I'm going to have a talk with him."

The driver was going 22 miles over the limit.

"I'm Captain Adamson with the Sheriff's Department. The reason I stopped you is because you were doing 82 miles-an-hour in that 60 mile-an-hour construction zone," he said.

Just like that, the driver got a ticket.

He tells us, they're not writing tickets for people going one or two miles over the limit.

"We try to use a lot of discretion and common sense. It doesn't change the fact that any speeding is speeding, but what we want to try to do is keep people safe."

Some are in favor of the campaign.

"Well, I think in a way it's a good thing. It will stop a lot of accidents on the highway, so I think it's a good thing," Tricia Smith said.

Others, not so much.

"There's more out there we need to address like domestic violence, guns and murders. Let's concentrate on that," a St. Francis County resident said.

Captain Adamson says they already wrote 61 speeding tickets in the county as of 4 p.m. on Tuesday, and the campaign just started on Monday.

Officers are pleading with people to slow down.

They'll be out until Sunday to keep an eye on things.