Highway Safety - Driver Beware

That vehicle you see in your review mirror may be approaching faster than you think. Social distancing and state mandated “stay-at-home” orders due to COVID-19 have resulted in decreased traffic volume nationwide. However, this does not necessarily mean the highways are safer. Many jurisdictions are reporting an increase in speeding violations (especially in excess of 100 mph) and an increase in traffic fatalities. Here are a few examples:

  • While CALTRANS reports an average daily decline in traffic volume of 35 percent as compared to the same period last year, the California Highway Patrol marked an 87 percent increase (2,493 vs 1,335) in the number of citations issued for speeds in excess of 100 mph between March 19 – April 19, as compared to the same period in 2019.
  • According to IPR News, the Iowa State Patrol reports a 52 percent increase in citations for speeds over 100 mph over the previous four year average, while traffic volume is down 40 percent.
  • And, on Saturday afternoon, May 2, the Virginia State Police issued eight citations for speeding in excess of 100 mph, to include one issued for 132 mph in a 55 mph zone on I-95 just south of the Washington, DC beltway.

    We all know speed kills, as highlighted by this last example:

  • The Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety reports between March 16 – April 21, there have been 31 fatal crashes resulting 35 deaths, as compared to 22 fatal crashes resulting in 24 deaths for the same period in 2019; an increase in fatalities of 46 percent.

Why the increases?  Some drivers used to being stuck in commuter traffic want to take advantage of the open road while others seem to think police are not enforcing traffic laws due to COVID-19. Thankfully, they are.   

For members and employees commuting to and from work, company drivers, and family members making the weekly run to the grocery store, be aware and stay safe. 


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