Are cars speeding more these days? Or, have we just become accustomed to a slower pace as a result of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions?
Shelter-in-place orders have had a dramatic impact on traffic conditions.
The good news is that traffic congestion and collisions in California have been reduced by half, according to a recent UC Davis report. There are about 15,000 fewer collisions per month that can be attributed to the shelter-in-place order, mainly due to fewer cars on the road.
With people getting behind the wheel for only essential trips, a decrease in traffic and collisions was expected, along with fewer drunk driving accidents resulting from the closure of bars and dine-in restaurants.
However, as streets have emptied, speeds have gone up. For better or worse, cars slow down other cars, especially when there are enough of them to form traffic congestion.
California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers have observed that cars traveling on quiet roadways are going faster. Recent traffic citations indicate more drivers exceeding 100 mph, and excessive vehicle speed is playing a bigger role in the crashes that are taking place. In addition to higher speeds, officers have noticed that drivers who remain on the road are driving more aggressively and recklessly.
D.C. Department of Transportation Director Jeff Marootian recently reported that fewer cars on the road has resulted in reduced traffic crashes and injuries – and increased speeding citations and the percentage of crashes in which speed was a factor.
Speed is a significant determinant of serious injury and mortality, especially for pedestrians and bicyclists. There may be fewer collisions, but the crashes that do occur are likely to be more severe.
Staying at home is the safest place to be right now. If you do need to venture out, stay alert and drive safely. This is a good time to brush up on defensive driving techniques. If you happen to be involved in a collision during the COVID-19 pandemic, take extra precautions.
If you or a loved one have been injured and need legal assistance, the Arnold Law Firm is here for you. We can evaluate your situation at no cost and no obligation, with no face-to-face meeting needed.