Though there have been less people on the roads since the beginning of the pandemic, and the number of traffic accidents overall nationally have decreased, incidents of serious accidents and the issuance of traffic tickets have actually increased—especially speeding tickets. When the roads are empty—or when there are less people on them—drivers tend to drive more recklessly. The freedom of the open roads can make drivers feel more carefree and be more focused on themselves. Therefore, they are more likely to speed and less likely to pay attention to what is going on around them.
Not only has the volume of speeding tickets police officers are writing gone up, but the speeds they are ticketing drivers for are extremely high. Traffic data shows average speeds have doubled in some cities. In general, speeds of more than 25 mph over the speed limit have increased nationally, and the number of speeding tickets issued for speeds in excess of 100 mph have skyrocketed.
There have been heightened reports of drag racing and drivers chasing land-speed records. As a matter of fact, in April it was reported on social media that a crew of three men drove from New York to Los Angeles in 26 hours and 38 minutes. This was a coast-to-coast speed record. To make that time, they would have to have traveled more than 100 mph throughout their journey.
In addition to speeding, reckless driving behaviors are a serious issue. According to a report by data analytics company Zendrive, motorists are slamming on their brakes more often indicating they are more distracted, and they are using their cell phones more while driving. The report stresses, “As a result, every minute spent on the road is riskier, every mile is riskier. The data shows our anxiety over social distancing and growing attachment to screens has carried over into our driving behaviors.”
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) confirms that the coronavirus pandemic has led to a spike in reckless driving behaviors. Jonathan Adkins, GHSA’s executive director, warned in an association news release, “While COVID-19 is clearly our national priority, our traffic safety laws cannot be ignored. Law enforcement officials have the same mission as health care providers—to save lives.” He reminds drivers to “buckle up, follow the posted speed limit and look out for pedestrians and bicyclists.” With many hospital emergency rooms at capacity, he adds, “the last thing they need is additional strain from traffic crash victims.” As we protect others by social distancing, wearing a mask, and staying home as much as we can, let’s also protect one another on our roadways. And remember, if you or a loved one is involved in a car crash, Accident and Injury Chiropractic is here to help. We continue to follow all CDC COVID-19 protocols to keep you safe, and we are committed to providing our clients with the Pro Treatment to get them feeling better as quickly as possible.