The coronavirus pandemic did not just put our lives on hold, but it also emptied out our roadways due to statewide lockdowns. However, pretty soon, as case rates drop and vaccinations increase, Californians will start commuting to work again after more than a year of being cooped up indoors. The Los Angeles Times reports that legislators in California and across the country are introducing a number of bills to curb speed and enhance road safety for all users.
Laws Against Speeding
Last year, an estimated 42,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes and 4.8 million were injured nationwide. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), this number represents an 8% increase over 2019, the largest year-over-year increase in nearly a century. The COVID-19 pandemic was to blame for this increase, experts and safety advocates say. Because roads were emptier than usual, more drivers began to speed. Higher speed causes more violent crashes and therefore, more serious injuries and fatalities.
California Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, a Democrat from Glendale, introduced a bill to reduce speed limits. Lawmakers across the country have introduced dozens of bills to lower speed limits, set up speed camera programs and promote pedestrian safety. In California, citations issued by the state highway patrol for speeding over 100 mph roughly doubled to 31,600 during the pandemic’s first year.
Why Speeding is Dangerous
California’s Basic Speed Law prohibits motorists from driving over the speed limit or driving at speeds that are dangerous, given the conditions. California Vehicle Code Section 22350 states: “No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic and on surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), In 2018, speeding was a contributing factor in 26% of all traffic fatalities. The consequences of speeding are tremendous. Drivers who speed have a greater potential for loss of vehicle control. At higher speeds, motorists experience increased stopping distance. There is an increased degree of crash severity leading to more severe injuries.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a speeding driver, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries, damages and losses. Speeding drivers, in addition to facing citations and/or criminal charges, can also be held financially liable for the injuries, damages and losses they cause. An experienced California car accident lawyer will be able to help you better understand your legal rights and options.