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Speeding Begun in Pandemic Traffic Hasn't Ended Yet

States report 100% increases in tickets for going over 100mph
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 6, 2020 9:40 AM CDT

(Newser) – Some drivers took advantage of roads and highways emptied by the coronavirus pandemic by pushing well past the speed limit, a trend that continues even as states try to get back to normal. The Iowa State Patrol recorded a 101% increase from January through August over the four-year average in tickets for speeds exceeding 100mph, along with a 75% increase in tickets for speeds of 25mph or more over the posted speed limit. California Highway Patrol officers issued more than 15,000 tickets from mid-March through Aug. 19 for speeds exceeding 100mph, the AP reports, more than a 100% increase over the same time period a year ago. That includes a continuing spike from May on. The most likely explanation is drivers taking advantage of more open roads because of the pandemic, said a spokesman for the California agency.

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In Ohio, state troopers have issued 2,200 tickets since April for driving more than 100mph, a 61% increase over the same time period a year ago. The highest ticketed speed was 147mph in the Cincinnati area. While traffic has decreased 15% from February through July, the number of people driving more than 80mph on Ohio roads jumped by 30%, according to sensor data analyzed by the state Department of Transportation. A temporary reduction in traffic enforcement in the early days of the pandemic may have contributed to a sense of invulnerability by some drivers. Ohio has reopened, but officials worry that there's been no slowdown by drivers. "We've seen people continue to go those speeds even though there now is more traffic, which makes it even more dangerous," said an Ohio patrol spokesman.

(Read more speeding stories.)

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