It sounds incredible to think that Covid-19 could have an influence on the habits of the driving population but statistics have shown a significant rise in speeding on the roadways where traffic had actually cleared due to the pandemic. Evidently, that horrible mess of traffic which served to tie everyone in knots while trying to meet deadlines and appointments also helped to prevent some drivers from taking the risk of exceeding posted speeds on California roads.
In 2020 alone, motor vehicle accidents killed nearly 42,000 people and injured 4.8 million. According to the National Safety Council, while the number of miles driven dropped by 13%, last year’s stats represents an 8% increase over 2019. This has caused lawmakers to propose bills reflecting concerns over pedestrian safety, the implementation of speed camera programs, and the lowering of speed limits altogether.
Since the pandemic, citations written by California Highway Patrol officers doubled to approximately 31,600 for speeds in excess of 100 mph. And while California continues to use the 85th percentile method to set the speed limits on local roads, some cities are being forced to raise speed limits because people are increasingly driving faster. The 85th percentile method requires state engineers to survey stretches of roads every 10 years, in order to determine how fast people are traveling and then sets that area’s speed limits based on 85% of those driver’s speeds.
There seems to be a state of urgency, due to the antiquated procedures in setting speed limits for cities and the increase in traffic fatalities due to the violation of those set speed limits, both before and after the pandemic. In closing, we can certainly expect new perspectives to emerge in the bills of lawmakers when it comes to the safety of our communities and better management of traffic control on California’s roadways.