The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) 2020 Operation Safe Driver Week will go on as scheduled, July 12-18. During this week-long traffic enforcement safety initiative, law enforcement personnel throughout North America will be looking for drivers who are engaging in unsafe driving behaviors on our roadways. Identified drivers will be pulled over by law enforcement and may be issued a warning or citation.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, less traffic may be encouraging some drivers to ignore traffic safety laws, including speed limits. Despite there being far fewer vehicles on the road due to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, many jurisdictions are seeing a severe spike in speeding.
As the number of vehicles on roadways decreased in March and April, average speeds measured during the first week of April increased significantly in the five largest U.S. metropolitan areas. According to recent data, the average speed on interstate highways, state highways and expressways in those areas increased by as much as 75% compared to January and February.
- In New York City, transportation officials reported an increase of more than 60% in the number of speed camera tickets issued in March compared to a year ago. At the same time, traffic was down more than 90% compared to January.
- In Washington, D.C., traffic decreased 80% in March compared to January, while officials recorded a 20% increase in March speeding tickets. Of those tickets, violations for driving 21-25 mph over the speed limit rose by nearly 40%.
- Over just one weekend, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, police charged 18 drivers with stunt driving, with speeds of 80-106 mph on the Don Valley Parkway, a major freeway that’s limited to 55 mph.
- California reported an increase in speeding violations and although the California Highway Patrol’s call volume has decreased, the crashes they have recently responded to have been worse.
- Tucson Police reported a 40% increase in one-vehicle wrecks, which usually happens when a driver’s going so fast they lose control.
- In Minnesota, motor vehicle crashes and fatalities more than doubled compared to the same time period in previous years. Half those deaths were related to speeding or careless or negligent driving.
- In Colorado, Indiana, Nebraska and Utah, police have clocked highway speeds of more than 100 mph.
- Chicago and Los Angeles went from travel speed increases of 35-38% above average to 74-75% above average in just one week.
To address this alarming trend of increased speeding on our roadways during the pandemic, CVSA selected speeding as the focus area for this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week.
Don’t become another statistic! Be prepared and stay safe on roadways, next week and every week.