While the coronavirus pandemic has drastically reduced traffic, wide-open roadways and freeways have greatly increased the risk of speeding drivers. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, California Highway Patrol officers are cracking down on motorists who are clearly taking advantage of Orange County freeways that have been emptied out thanks to stay-at-home orders. On Thursday, April 23, CHP officers in Orange County handed out more than 150 citations to drivers just over a period of four hours – between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. A bulk of these were for speeding.
Drivers Hit Dangerous Speeds
With the amount of traffic plummeting because of the coronavirus pandemic, the number of drivers who are going faster than 100 mph has skyrocketed 87% compared to the same period last year, CHP’s statistics show. This was a more widespread operation, which stretched from the state’s southern border to Kern County. In this region, CHP officers handed out 441 citations and issued 108 warnings to drivers.
The highest speed ticketed was on a freeway in San Juan Capistrano where officers cited one driver for going 112 mph in a 65 mph zone. Recently, officers with the Capistrano office reportedly arrested a driver with a suspended license who they caught going 165 mph on the 5 Freeway in San Juan Capistrano.
One officer said he stopped an 83-year-old man going 91 mph on the southbound 55 Freeway apparently heading to Newport Beach to visit his daughter. Officers say while the overall number of car accidents has dramatically dropped, with higher speeds, we are more likely to see car accidents that result in catastrophic injuries or death.
The Perils of Speeding
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding endangers everyone on the roadway. In the year 2018 alone, speeding killed 9,378 people nationwide. In 2017, speeding was a contributing factor in about 26% of all traffic deaths. Speed also affects your safety even when you are driving at the speed limit. Motorists can potentially be involved in an accident if they are driving too fast in dangerous roadway conditions such as bad weather, unrepaired roads, or poorly lit roads.
Driving at dangerous speeds amounts to negligence. If you have been injured a crash caused by a speeding driver, you may be able to seek compensation from the at-fault driver for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An experienced Orange County car accident lawyer can help fight for your rights and ensure that you receive maximum compensation for your losses.