Less highway congestion during stay-at-home orders not a license to speed
SACRAMENTO — Caltrans announced on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 a joint effort with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) to urge drivers in the state to slow down given a recent 87% 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% as compared to this time last year.
“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.”
“It is alarming to see the number of citations officers are writing for excessive speeds on California roadways,” said CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley. “Higher speeds can lead to much more serious injuries and significantly increase the chance of death should a crash occur. Keep yourself and those on the road around you safe. Slow down and drive at a safe, legal speed.”
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.
“Fewer cars on the road doesn’t give drivers the green light to travel over the speed limit,” OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. “Driving at a safe speed when you must go out is one way to keep you and your family safe during this pandemic.”
California’s more than 700 electronic highway signs will also soon display the following types of safety-related messages:
IF YOU MUST TRAVEL DO NOT SPEED
KEEP ESSENTIAL WORKERS SAFE DO NOT SPEED
During the COVID-19 emergency, Caltrans continues to provide the general public with a safe and reliable transportation system. The department is maintaining all critical functions during this crisis, including ensuring roadway access to medical facilities and the convenient transport of essential goods and services throughout the state. Some non-essential work has been deferred to limit spread of the COVID-19 virus, but maintenance and construction crews are still addressing hazards, safety concerns and other critical functions on the highways.
Please slow down and Be Work Zone Alert.
For more information about COVID-19 https://covid19.ca.gov/