RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) Heavy-footed drivers will need to be extra careful with their speeds this week in North Carolina.

The North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program is running its “Speed a Little, Lose a Lot” campaign through Sunday.

Law enforcement will be watching for and cracking down on speeders during the education and enforcement campaign

The North Carolina Department of Transportation reported speed-related fatalities increased 17 percent in the past five years.

In 2021:

  • 424 people died in speed-related crashes statewide
  • Mecklenburg, Guilford, Wake, Robeson and Cumberland were the top counties for speed-related fatalities
  • Speeding was a factor in 25 percent of crash fatalities

“Over the past few years, North Carolina has seen an alarming uptick in speed-related crashes,” said Mark Ezzell, director of the North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “Motorists are too often using the roads as their own personal NASCAR tracks, and vehicle crash deaths have skyrocketed in the past few years. As the weather warms and vacation season approaches, let’s all do our parts to keep each other safe and avoid tragedy on our roadways.”

NCDOT reported a crash on a road with a speed limit of 65 mph or higher is five times as likely as a road where the speed limit is below 40 mph. 

Speeding doesn’t save you much time either.

It takes just 49 seconds longer to travel two miles at 45 mph than it does if you’re going 65 mph, NCDOT reported.

NASCAR driver Bobby Labonte joined NCDOT to call for drivers to slow down at a kickoff event for the Speed a Little, Lose a Lot campaign.

“The skill level you need to control a car at high speeds takes a lot of practice, and you have to know your ability and limitations,” said Labonte. “Racecars are built strong and for safety, and I have equipment like a helmet and fireproof suit that you don’t have when you’re driving a street car. That’s why we have speed limits and need to follow them. I’m always aware of that when I’m on the road.”