The coronavirus pandemic has slowed down the entire world, thanks to lockdowns and self-quarantines. Instead of rushing to the workplace, employees move from bedrooms to makeshift offices in another part of their houses. Hectically packing the kids up for a visit to grandparents now represents risk and has been replaced by Zoom and FaceTime.
Stay-at-home orders have left once busy roads sparse with few cars traveling to and from home. Unfortunately, some people who are still navigating the highways are driving much faster and more recklessly.
Fewer Cars Creating Dangerous and Reckless Conditions
Streetlight Data reports that miles driven have dropped in every county in the United States. However, average speeds have jumped significantly in the top five metropolitan areas. Data from INRIX reveals that interstates, state highways, and expressways are seeing increases in miles per hour of up to 75% compared to the first two months of the year.
Anecdotal evidence shows that drivers are putting pedals to the metal, traveling at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour. In New York City, hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak, camera tickets issued for speeding are up 60%, with traffic dropping in certain areas by 90%. Nationwide, many drivers are treating roads like racetracks and ignoring not only warnings but also automated traffic enforcement systems.
Evidence of this risky behavior exists in the form of videos posted on social media. Users of Twitter and Facebook are putting their distracted driving on display, videoing their distracted behavior on what they believe to be roads emptied due to a nationwide pandemic.
Law enforcement is doing its best with the resources they have, posting officers at strategic points where speeds have reached excessive levels. Cities are altering traffic signal patterns to shorten the duration of green lights.
During a time when thousands of people across the country are contracting a deadly illness, dangerous driving will only increase the number of people in much-needed hospital beds.