Reckless Driving Increases Risk of Auto Accidents
After weeks of being stuck at home, Colorado residents are now starting to see a loosening of some restrictions.
Although residents have been free to visit grocery stores and other vital businesses, they have also been encouraged to limit travel in order to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Most people have done their best to comply. But others are using the situation to take to the road in an extremely dangerous manner.
Emptier streets have inspired some drivers to ignore speed limits.
For weeks, streets have been virtually empty because of pandemic-induced closures. To a few, that seems to be an open invitation. As in other states, some Coloradoans have put themselves and others in danger by speeding up to 100 mph on forsaken highways. And that’s not an upper limit. Thornton police pulled over a driver going 128 mph in a 55-mph zone. Lakewood police snagged a 16-year-old going 104 mph — without a license.
On April 1, the Westminster Colorado Police Department used its Twitter account to issue the following report and injunction:
Not an April Fools joke, we wish it was. Officers cited drivers at 103, 103, 97 & 97. There are fewer people on the roads, but at these speeds accidents will be catastrophic. Stay home! Slow down! We’re still here working & we will write you the ticket!
In California, citations for driving faster than 100 mph have jumped 87 percent since policies to combat the spread of the virus began to dramatically reduce traffic. One motorist was clocked going 165 mph.
Speeding endangers everyone: drivers of other cars, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 9,378 people were killed in speeding-related car accidents in 2018. According to the website Driving Tests, accidents in which speeding is a factor cost Americans over $40 billion every year, and it’s a factor in nearly a third of all fatal auto accidents.
A pedestrian struck by a car going 20 mph has a 10 percent chance of dying; if that car is going 40 mph, he has an 80 percent chance of dying. Teenagers are more likely than older drivers to be involved in a speed-related auto accident that results in death.
In Colorado, fines start at $30 if a driver is caught exceeding the speed limit and increase rapidly as illegal speed increases. In addition to being heavily fined, some drivers may also end up in jail. Drivers who speed also face point suspension. And if you rack up too many points, you risk having your driver’s license suspended — or losing it.
Stay alert as we slowly return to somewhat-normal.
As cities begin to give businesses the go-ahead to carefully reopen and as more and more people begin to resume some version of old routines, pedestrians and motorists alike will need to pay extra attention ‑‑ especially in areas where traffic has been halted during the lockdown.
For example, Denver officials closed some streets to provide more room for people to walk and ride their bikes so that they could be outdoors while still practicing the new rules of social distancing. Of course, conditions will vary in different parts of the state and different parts of the country. But the advice to be alert and careful is valid everywhere.