Near empty roads due to nationwide lock downs due to the Coronavirus have meant an increase in reckless driving, speeding, and phone usage.
Reckless driving has increased dramatically since March, leading to a disproportionate number of speed-related crashes and fatalities, according to law enforcement and traffic experts. According to the Governors Highway Safety Administration, states including Colorado, Indiana, Nebraska and Utah, have clocked highway speeds of over 100 mph.
State police in Florida and Iowa are reporting drivers going 20 to 40 miles over the posted speed limit.
In New York City, despite far fewer vehicles on the road, the city's automated speed cameras issued 24,765 speeding tickets citywide on March 27, or nearly double the 12,672 tickets issued daily a month earlier. In Los Angeles, speeds are up by as much as 30% on some streets, prompting changes to traffic lights and pedestrian walk signals.
Some states are finding reduced crash rates but more serious crashes. In Massachusetts, the fatality rate for car crashes is rising, and in Nevada and Rhode Island, state officials note pedestrian fatalities are rising.
In Minnesota, motor vehicle crashes and fatalities have more than doubled compared to the same time period in previous years. Half those deaths were related to speeding or to careless or negligent driving.
“During the past two months, Americans nationwide have shown that we are all willing to do the right thing to protect ourselves and each other,” said Pam Shadel Fischer, GHSA’s Senior Director of External Engagement and Special Projects. “We must maintain that same sense of urgency when it comes to the road. Drivers need to respect the law and look out for other road users, so that we can prevent the needless loss of life now and moving forward.”
A study by Zendrive shows that an increase in speeding, phone usages, and hard breaking throughout the country.
Phone usage on the nation’s roadways steadily increased in the weeks following the stay-at-home guidelines, up by 38 percent in mid-April, and the behavioral changes contributed to a 20 percent increase in collisions per million miles traveled, since the beginning of the shutdowns.
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