ROAD­WAYS BE­CAME SPEED­WAYS UPON ON­SET OF PAN­DEMIC

Chicago Sun-Times - - CLASSIFIED­S - BY AN­DREW WELSH-HUG­GINS

COLUMBUS, Ohio — 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 100 mph, along with a 75% in­crease in tick­ets for speeds of 25 mph 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 100 mph, 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 Of­fi­cer Ian Hoey, a spokesman for the Cal­i­for­nia agency.

The pa­trol planned a heavy pres­ence over the La­bor Day week­end, he said.

“Let’s just slow down a bit and en­joy the day!” the agency’s Santa Rosa divi­sion tweeted June 21, along with a photo of a laser speed de­vice record­ing a car go­ing 127 mph.

In Ohio, state troop­ers have is­sued 2,200 tick­ets since April for driv­ing more than 100 mph, a 61% in­crease over the same time pe­riod a year ago. The high­est tick­eted speed was 147 mph in the Cincin­nati area.

While traf­fic has de­creased 15% from Fe­bru­ary through July, the num­ber of peo­ple driv­ing more than 80 mph on Ohio roads jumped by 30%, ac­cord­ing to sen­sor data an­a­lyzed by the state Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion.

Columbus res­i­dent Karen Poltor ex­pe­ri­enced the trend first­hand last month when three cars raced past her on state Route 315, an expressway through the city.

“They were fly­ing in the left lane and weav­ing around cars,” said Poltor, who es­ti­mated their speed at be­tween 90 and 100 mph. “It was ter­ri­fy­ing to watch.”

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