Speeding Violations Increase Around the Country Amid COVID-19
Most of the United States is currently under a patchwork of orders calling for people to stay at home. The risks associated with catching and spreading coronavirus are too great to go on about life as usual. The coronavirus disease of 2019, also called COVID-19, has been proven deadly among people of all ages, and there currently exists no vaccine to protect the population.
In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan issued an executive order calling for residents to stay home on Monday, March 30, 2020 to help slow the spread of coronavirus. The order directs people to stay home unless they provide an essential service or must do so for an essential reason, like going to the grocery store, pharmacy, urgent care clinic, or post office. The order shut down several businesses statewide, like restaurants, gyms, malls, casinos, movie theaters, and others considered “nonessential.” Even schools have transitioned to a completely online model for the time being.
With more people cooped up at home, there are nearly empty streets, which has proven to be a temptation for those inclined to speed. While the number of traffic accidents has declined, many large cities are experiencing an uptick in the number of citations issued for driving dangerously.
How Much Has Speeding Increased in Densely-Populated Areas?
With nearly empty roads and a reduced police presence, some people don’t fight the urge to exceed the speed limit when they do get out during the coronavirus shutdown. With fewer drivers on the road, it’s also more difficult to gauge one’s own speed, as there are no other drivers to reference. As a result, speeding is on the rise, which puts the lives of those who absolutely do need to travel in harm’s way.
In New York City, speed cameras issued 180,718 summonses on weekdays from March 5- 24. Speed cameras in the city only issue tickets on weekdays. This number is 12.3% higher than for the comparable 14-day period from January 13-31, when cameras issued 158,510 speeding tickets. The increase in tickets comes at a time when vehicle miles traveled throughout the city’s 5 boroughs is down 71%.
In California, traffic accidents across the state are down 50% on highways according to a study by UC Davis. In Los Angeles, drivers are traveling 12% faster on weekdays and 6% faster on weekends. The California Highway Patrol wrote 543 tickets to drivers traveling 100+ miles per hour from March 19-29. During that same time last year, CHP officers wrote 418 tickets for reaching or exceeding 100 miles per hour.
While many parts of the country are seeing an increase in tickets for speeding, which puts the lives of other drivers at risk, many officers have been instructed to be more lenient when addressing minor traffic violations.
In Detroit, police officers are committed to only address traffic offenses that can hurt others. As a public-facing position, officers are at a much higher risk of contracting COVID-19 than the general population. After 500 officers were quarantined due to exposure to the virus, two officers who were exposed died. The Chief of Operations for Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, Mike Jaafar, made it clear to the public that the threat of the virus is not worth the risk to their lives and that they would focus on social distancing.
“I’m not a proponent of going out there right now. Unless you’re doing something blatant and affecting the safety of others, we’re warning folks as best we can and making sure folks understand social distancing is a priority.”
Consequences of Excessive Speeding in Maryland
The City of Baltimore is also experiencing considerably reduced traffic as more people are conducting business from the comfort of their homes. Excessive speeding in Maryland is defined as going 15 miles per hour or more above the posted speed limit. It’s considered a serious traffic violation that may lead to harsh penalties, which could be increased if a driver was found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if the speeding led to a crash.
A person accused of excessive speeding may face steep fines and points against their driver’s license. The violation may result in the following penalties:
- Going 10 to 19 mph over the speed limit: $90 fine and two points
- Going 20 to 29 mph over the speed limit: $160 fine and two points
- Going 30 to 39 mph over the speed limit: $290 fine and five points
- Going at least 40 mph over the speed limit: $560 fine and five points
Were You Ticketed During Coronavirus in Maryland? Contact Hillel Traub
Traffic violation attorney Hillel Traub of the Law Office of Hillel Traub is a former Assistant Attorney for the Maryland MVA who thoroughly understands the organization’s inner workings. He knows what it will take to successfully challenge a speeding ticket and will help you avoid court fees. For more than 20 years, he has helped residents of Baltimore and surrounding areas fight traffic charges. If you receive a speeding ticket by mail, make sure your first step is a call to (410) 580-1100 or complete our contact form for a free consultation.