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Tickets for speeding in excess of 100 mph surge 87% amid coronavirus shutdown, CHP says

 Intersection of the 110 and the 105 Freeways
Traffic is light on California’s highways, and lead-footed drivers are taking advantage, the CHP says.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

With freeway traffic down significantly because of the statewide stay-at-home order, the California Highway Patrol said Wednesday there has been an alarming 87% increase in citations for speeding in excess of 100 mph.

The CHP’s message to motorists: Slow down.

An increase in vehicle speeds on the empty streets of Los Angeles is “troubling,” said L.A. Police Chief Michel Moore.

In the month after the start of the stay-at-home order March 19, the CHP issued 2,493 tickets throughout California for speeding more than 100 mph. Officers wrote 1,335 tickets for that offense during the same period last year.

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One motorist was arrested and charged with speeding, reckless driving and driving without a license after officers clocked him going 165 mph in a Cheverolet Camaro on Interstate 5 in San Juan Capistrano, an official said.

Caltrans officials believe the increase in speeding is connected to a reduction in traffic volume on state roads, which has declined by about 35% compared with this time last year.

“It is alarming to see the number of citations officers are writing for excessive speeds on California roadways,” CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said. “Higher speeds can lead to much more serious injuries and significantly increase the chance of death should a crash occur.”

To get the message out, California’s 700 electronic highway signs are being programmed to display safety-related messages, including, “If you must travel do not speed.”

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The reductions in traffic has also allowed Caltrans contractors to expedite improvement projects, and speeding motorists put road construction workers at risk, Stanley noted.

“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,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin.


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