It is no secret that COVID-19 has affected the nation’s workforce. Many businesses have encouraged their staff to work remotely or reduce their hours in order to comply with local regulations and maintain a safe environment for customers. With more people working from home, it has led to reduced traffic on almost all of our nation’s roadways and led to an unforeseen consequence: speeding. Over the last year, several states have seen an increase in speeding tickets, and in some states, the growth has jumped 101 percent.
For example, state troopers in Iowa noted a 75 percent increase in tickets for speeds of twenty-five mph or more over the speed limit; in Ohio, police issued 2,200 tickets since April for people driving over 100 mph. There was a 23 percent jump in speeding tickets issued for drivers exceeding 20 mph or more over the speed limit in Utah.
In California, officers issued more than 15,000 tickets from the middle of March through August for drivers exceeding 100 mph, resulting in more than a 100 percent increase over the same period in 2019. Officer Ian Hoey, a California transportation spokesman, stated that the probable reason for so many motorists speeding is that they took advantage of less traffic and more open roads.
Experts speculate that the pandemic also caused a reduction in traffic enforcement and that drivers took advantage of that by speeding. When there are fewer state troopers and law enforcement vehicles on roads and highways, drivers may be more likely to put the pedal to the metal. In Ohio, for example, some police departments grew lax on pulling over motorists for minor traffic violations because the officers did not want to become exposed to and potentially spread COVID-19.
Last July, the US government cautioned drivers to slow down and noted that less traffic had coincided with a spike in speeding in some areas of the country and, as a result, increased chances of severe crashes and injuries.
“Drivers have taken advantage of less-clogged highways and roads by increasing their speed, and increased rates equal an increase in crashes, injuries, and deaths that can result in serious life-long injuries”, said attorney Allen Tittle of Tittle & Perlmuter”. “It is important to exercise safety at all times in order to help keep yourselves and others safe while driving.”
Another concern is that if drivers are used to speeding on roadways, they may not change their behavior when the pandemic is over and return driving to work. Speeding drivers create more dangerous driving conditions for many commuters and lead to more speeding tickets and citations. As far as legal issues, speeding drivers involved in crashes may face liability issues, not to mention higher insurance rates.
Drivers need to note that the pandemic will not last forever, and at some point, motorists will return to our nation’s roads. As a result, drivers should attempt to slow down and obey all posted speed limits on our streets and highways.