Drivers in California are putting the pedal to the metal on coronavirus-cleared roadways — with one reckless motorist recently topping out at 165 mph, officials said.
Citations for speeding in excess of 100 mph have skyrocketed 87 percent since the state’s stay-at-home order took effect on March 19, California Highway Patrol officials announced Wednesday.
The agency doled out 2,493 such speeding violations during that span, compared to just 1,335 during the same period a year ago. The rapid rise on state roadways comes as volume has dropped roughly 35 percent, CHP officials said.
“It is alarming to see the number of citations officers are writing for excessive speeds,” CHP Commissioner Warren Stanly said in a statement. “Higher speeds can lead to much more serious injuries and significantly increase the chance of death should a crash occur.”
One driver in San Juan Capistrano with an apparent serious need for speed in his Chevrolet Camaro was caught barreling down Interstate 5 at 165 mph. He was arrested and charged with speeding, reckless driving and driving without a license, an official told the Los Angeles Times.
To remind drivers to step off the gas, the agency will soon display messages on more than 700 electronic highway signs throughout the state.
“If you must travel, do not speed,” one reminder will read.
A freeway sign urges drivers to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic in Gorman, California.Mark J. Terrill/AP
One CHP officer in San Luis Obispo County, meanwhile, said he wasn’t surprised by the rapid rise in excessive speeding.
“The less traffic just comes greater speeds,” the officer told KSBY. “We’ve been seeing vehicles in excess of over 100 miles per hour. I would say, I hear someone on the radio at least once a day that’s going out with a vehicle that’s going over 100 miles per hour.”