GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan State Police is joining law enforcement agencies across the state in cracking down on speeding after reporting an alarming rise in speeding and fatalities since the start of the pandemic.

During the weeklong campaign that runs from June 19 through June 27, participating agencies will focus on speeding drivers.

News 8 rode along with Sgt. Matt Rogers of the MSP Grand Rapids Post to get an up-close look at the stepped-up enforcement.

Rogers said speeding became a big problem since the start of the pandemic, likely due to a lack of enforcement. He said throughout the pandemic, MSP cut back on certain traffic stops, such as speeding to limit contact between officers and the general public.

“Now that we have somewhat of a grasp on this whole COVID thing, it’s back to trying to gain the ground that we lost in that last year and a half,” Rogers said. “Getting traffic back somewhat under control (as) the statistics show that speed is obviously an issue.”

Though there were fewer miles traveled in 2020, MSP reported an 8% increase in the speed-related fatalities on Michigan roadways compared to 2019.

During that same time period, MSP reported the number of traffic crashes overall dropped by 22%, while the fatality rate saw a 10% increase.

Law enforcement sees speed as a key factor.

Writing one speeding ticket after another while on patrol Sunday afternoon, Rogers said the purpose of enforcement is to get drivers to think twice before stepping on the gas.

“You stop someone going to work … I issue a $150 ticket. Was it really even worth going to work for? Because you just spent your whole day’s wage on this ticket.”