Less traffic doesn’t give drivers a license to speed

Caltrans announced today a joint effort with the California Highway Patrol and the California Office of Traffic Safety to urge drivers 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.

According to the Quincy office of the CHP there has not been an increase in speeding in its coverage area.

Caltrans has been taking advantage of the reduced traffic volume to work on the state’s roadways and the speeding motorists endangers their workers.

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“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.”

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.

California’s more than 700 electronic highway signs will also soon display safety-related messages.