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'Fast and Furious Wannabes' Are Taking to the Streets

Safety officials note a big spike in speeding and reckless driving
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2020 10:29 AM CDT

(Newser) – With most people forced to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic, some of the ones who are still driving around are taking the opportunity to get reckless on the road. Per the Governors Highway Safety Association, road safety officials say there's been a "severe spike" in speeding on US roadways—with fewer crashes due to reduced traffic, but more significant ones, per ABC News. "Now that the streets are empty, the Fast & Furious wannabes really think they're living in a video game," NYC Councilman Justin Brannan tweeted, noting that the din of motorcycles and cars zipping by on a local parkway had turned into "a scary lullaby." The New York Times reports that in New York City, some cars are even drag racing.

In addition to speeding, locals say amateur Evel Knievels are heading onto thoroughfares to do wheelies and other stunts on motorcycles, dirt bikes, and ATVs. Average speeds on the city's highways during rush hour have increased, rising between 34% (Staten Island) and 85% (Brooklyn). At the end of March, the city also issued more than double the number of speeding tickets via automated speed cameras as it did the month prior. The same reckless driving is happening overseas. Per the BBC, Greater Manchester, England, saw up to 4 in 10 drivers break the speed limit during the first week of April; that number is usually closer to 1 in 10. The GHSA notes other reasons to obey speed limits right now: more people are walking and riding bikes than usual, and ERs need to be kept clear for virus patients. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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