Dangerous Speeders Put Your Life in Jeopardy from Speeding Accidents During Quarantine
In New York and San Francisco, the actual traffic on the roads and highways has declined by more than 60% during the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, according to the transportation analytical firm INRIX. While this drop may suggest that our roads are safer during the lockdown, authorities have reported that there is a serious spike in dangerous speeding underway which has the potential for creating more speeding accidents. Truck drivers, who have been tasked with transporting essential supplies during the pandemic, may be especially prone to risky speeding at this time.
GHSA Warns That the Quieter Streets Have Driven People to Speed Dangerously
The Governors Highway Safety Association has warned that these empty roads are leading to riskier driving behavior. On March 27, 2020 in New York City, automatic speed cameras assessed 24,765 speeding violation citations. This represented nearly twice the usual number of citywide speeding tickets compared to the previous month. Meanwhile, over in Los Angeles, reckless drivers have been speeding by roughly 30% more since the lockdown began there in earnest.
This excessive speeding has caught the attention of Councilman Justin Brannan of New York City, who recently tweeted “Now that the streets are empty, the Fast and Furious wannabes really think that they’re living in a video game.” Brannan has also expressed his mounting concern about the roaring sounds of both motorcycles and cars racing down the Belt Parkway near Bay Ridge that he hears at night.
Granted, many states are reporting fewer individual car, motorcycle, and truck crashes. However, the accidents that are happening are far more serious. For example, the fatality rates for these automobile accidents are increasing in the state of Massachusetts. Farther west in Minnesota, these car crashes and accompanying fatalities are up more than double versus the identical time frame from prior years, according to the state’s Office of Traffic Safety. This is all happening even though traffic is down roughly 50% in the state due to a stay-at-home order.
Severe Speeding Also Dangerously Rising
Freeway traffic may be down substantially because of the quarantine orders in such states as California. However, the California Highway Patrol has reported a frightening 87% increase in traffic citations for drivers speeding dangerously. These are for violations where the offenders reached speeds of 100 mph or higher.
Consider that during the month following the beginning of the stay-at-home orders on March 19, the CHP handed out 2,493 tickets around the state for speeders who were going over 100 mph. In the same time frame from the past year, the CHP officers gave out only 1,335 tickets for these speeding offenses. Officials have not yet released information on how many of those offenders were commercial truck drivers. Safety advocates have long lobbied for tractor-trailers to have capped speeds at 65 mph, so even traveling above 70 mph could be recklessly hazardous for a trucker.
According to officials of the California Department of Transportation, the speeding increases have resulted from the greatly diminished traffic volumes present on California state highways and roads. This has dropped by roughly 35% compared to the same time from the past year. Even if the vast majority of these offenders are in passenger vehicles, they are sharing the highways with truck drivers. Any reckless driver can initiate a chain reaction that involves a commercial truck. The resulting accident could be catastrophic and involve multiple innocent victims and cause preventable fatalities.
Another danger exists on the roads now that many state contractors are attempting to expedite their various road work projects. After all, the lower traffic volume theoretically makes this the perfect time to complete upgrades. However, dangerously speeding drivers have endangered roadside construction workers, according to California Highway Patrol officers.
Full Emergency Rooms Now Mean That Careful Driving Is More Important Than Ever
Highway safety advocates are warning that it is now more important than ever before to drive safely. The reason for this is that the coronavirus pandemic has caused many emergency rooms to be at full or near-full capacity. The worst thing would be for there to be more burdens on the overstretched hospitals brought on by additional traffic accident-caused severe injuries.
Pedestrian Fatalities Also Rising as Lockdown Accidents Rise
It is not just car crashes and driving fatalities that are on the rise under the lockdown from coronavirus. There has also been a problem with pedestrians. The numbers of bicycle riders and pedestrians using city streets have grown dramatically because of the traffic decline, per the GHSA. This is yet another reason for motorists to carefully observe posted speed limits as well as the other driving-related safety laws.
The state of New Hampshire has reported increases in tragic pedestrian fatalities since lockdowns began in earnest. For the year 2020 up to this point, eight individual adults have died in pedestrian accidents directly related to unsafe motorists. This represents a stunning 166% increase versus the same period of last year.
Trucking Accident Incidents Also Continue to Rise as Well as Speeding Accidents and Involve Higher Fatalities
It is not just auto speeding accidents and fatalities that have risen in the past several months under the coronavirus lockdown and shutdowns. Trucking deaths are still rising. However, this trend began before the COVID-19 crisis began in the U.S. Large truck-related crash fatalities have risen to their greatest number in over 30 years this past year, per recently released data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Beyond trucker fatalities, overall deaths resulting from commercial truck crashes have also kept rising. According to the NHTSA report, 4,678 individuals perished from a collision with a large truck in just the past year. This represents a nearly 1% full increase from the prior year’s 4,369 fatalities.
This was the fourth year in a row in which large truck accidents and fatalities rose, per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s report. Pedestrians also died from these types of unfortunate accidents. In fact, pedestrian fatalities from collisions involving large trucks rose by a sobering 13% in the past year. These rising deaths that center around big commercial truck crashes stand in contrast to the longer-term national trend of better highway safety and lower fatalities on the roads from the past several years.
Holding Reckless Drivers Accountable for Speeding Accidents
If you or a loved one has suffered tragically because of a speeding trucker in New Jersey, don’t wait for the stay-at-home orders to be lifted to take legal action. Now is the best time to talk with an experienced truck accident lawyer on our staff. At Rebenack Aronow & Mascolo, L.L.P., we would be more than happy to make an appointment for you to sit down with us and discuss your personal situation.
Call us at (732) 394-1549 to schedule a consultation. We have offices in New Brunswick, Somerville, and Freehold, but we can make special accommodations to adhere to social distancing practices. You are entitled to receive a completely complimentary case review from a qualified truck accident lawyer. With our help, you could obtain compensation to cover lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and more.