SLOW DOWN Mario Andretti!
Caltrans has announced a joint effort with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) to urge drivers in the state to slow down, given a recent 87 percent increase in citations for speeding in excess of 100 mph that coincides with decreased traffic volumes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
From March 19 when the state’s stay-at-home order began to April 19, the CHP reports issuing 2,493 citations statewide for speeding more than 100 mph, as compared to 1,335 during the same period last year. This increase in citations occurred as Caltrans has measured an average decline in traffic volume on state roads of approximately 35 percent as compared to this time last year.
“Excessive speed and unsafe driving threaten everyone using our highway system,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin. “Viewing less congested roads as an invitation to drive dangerously jeopardizes the safety of construction and maintenance crews who are working to maintain reliable access to our highways when people need it most.”
“It is alarming to see the number of citations officers are writing for excessive speeds on California roadways,” said CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley. “Higher speeds can lead to much more serious injuries and significantly increase the chance of death should a crash occur. Keep yourself and those on the road around you safe. Slow down and drive at a safe, legal speed.”
California’s “Move Over” law continues to be in effect and requires all drivers to move over a lane or, if unable to do so safely, slow down when they see amber flashing lights on Caltrans vehicles, law enforcement and emergency vehicles, and tow trucks.
“Fewer cars on the road doesn’t give drivers the green light to travel over the speed limit,” OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. “Driving at a safe speed when you must go out is one way to keep you and your family safe during this pandemic.”