NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Tennessee Highway Safety Office and other partners launched a campaign Friday to encourage drivers to slow down on the roads.

The campaign, called “Slow Down Tennessee,” came after nearly 37,000 speed-related crashes in the state over the past five years.

Lt. Col. Jimmie Johnson with the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) told News 2 the speeding problem has gotten worse since the pandemic.

“It’s nothing for a trooper to be patrolling now and clock triple digit speeds, and when I say triple digit, I mean over 100 miles an hour,” Johnson said.

Law enforcement has seen the deadly consequences of speeding.

According to Tennessee law enforcement, there have been 12 more fatal, speed-related crashes this year compared to this time last year.

“They’re not fatality numbers, they’re people,” Buddy Lewis, the director of the Tennessee Highway Safety Office, said. “They’re people who will not be at family dinner tonight, they’re people who will not be celebrating birthdays with parents or grandparents or children in the future. They’re people who have lost their lives because someone made a decision to do something that causes a fatality crash.”

Williamson County Sheriff Dusty Rhoades recalled one recent, deadly, speed-related crash.

“Just recently, one of my sergeants clocked a car doing 92 miles an hour,” Rhoades said. “By the time he got turned around, the driver had already run off the road, (was) impaled by a tree, the car caught fire; we were not able to get this guy out. Just to hear the voice crackle on this seasoned veteran sergeant calling, ‘I need help, I’m out of fire extinguisher, I can’t get this guy out, I need help.’ It is just really mind-numbing to hear that.”

During the Slow Down Tennessee campaign, law enforcement will also boost patrols on the roads to catch more speeders in an effort to save lives.

“Watch your speed out there, because we’re going to be out there,” Rhoades said.

To report a speeding or reckless driver, call *847 to alert THP.