Between 2006 and 2008, 553 tickets were issued for speeding at 100 mph or higher in Orange County, Sullivan County and Ulster County.
Almost half of those were issued on State Route 17.
In comparison, police issued 160 tickets to drivers of 100 mph or more on the Thruway, and 82 such tickets on I-84.
As a traffic ticket attorney (and an occasional user of Route 17) I’m tempted to be cynical about the reasons for the higher number of extreme speeding tickets on Route 17 in comparison to other roadways. Route 17 is one of the most heavily patrolled roadways I’ve seen. You can’t drive 5 miles without seeing either a car stop in progress or an officer waiting on the side of the road ready to initiate a car stop at any moment. The attorney advertisements on the billboards along Route 17 are a testament to the excessive number of traffic tickets issued along the roadway. Moreover, some of the most difficult courts we’ve dealt with have been in Orange and Sullivan County which could suggest, if we are being cynical about it, an overall system that is too harsh on drivers.
However, no matter how you look at it, or what the reason for the big numbers on Route 17 is, there is absolutely no excuse for driving at speeds in excess of 100 mph. It puts yourself and anyone else on the road in extreme danger. There are formulas involved when designing expressways. Engineers make sure there is enough time and space between exit signs and ramps for drivers to react safely. Curves are designed to be handled at specific speeds. Extreme speeding severly impacts a motorist’s field of vision and reduces reaction time. The probability of a crash increases dramatically.
If you think you have some legal justification for driving that speed, it’s unlikely you do. It would be an extremely rare situation where the law allowed for an ordinary vehicle and untrained emergency driver to proceed at that speed instead of stopping and calling 911.
While Route 17 may be considered by some to be one giant speed trap, I hope everyone driving over 100 mph is indeed “trapped” sooner than later. It’s just not safe.
Submitted by Scott Feifer.