More drivers cited for speeding as traffic declines

April 22, 2020 GMT
FILE - This March 15, 2020 file photo shows very light traffic is seen in the afternoon on the Route 118 Ronald Reagan Freeway in Simi Valley, Calif. The California Highway Patrol is issuing a lot more tickets to motorists feeling the need for speed on roadways where lanes are wide open during the coronavirus pandemic. From March 19, when the stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus began through April 19, 2020, officers issued 87% more citations to drivers suspected of speeding in excess of 100 mph. That's compared to the same period last year. The jump in speeding tickets coincides with a 35% decline in traffic volume. Officials say work crews taking advantage of reduced traffic to perform road maintenance are put in danger by speeding motorists. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
FILE - This March 15, 2020 file photo shows very light traffic is seen in the afternoon on the Route 118 Ronald Reagan Freeway in Simi Valley, Calif. The California Highway Patrol is issuing a lot more tickets to motorists feeling the need for speed on roadways where lanes are wide open during the coronavirus pandemic. From March 19, when the stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus began through April 19, 2020, officers issued 87% more citations to drivers suspected of speeding in excess of 100 mph. That's compared to the same period last year. The jump in speeding tickets coincides with a 35% decline in traffic volume. Officials say work crews taking advantage of reduced traffic to perform road maintenance are put in danger by speeding motorists. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
FILE - This March 15, 2020 file photo shows very light traffic is seen in the afternoon on the Route 118 Ronald Reagan Freeway in Simi Valley, Calif. The California Highway Patrol is issuing a lot more tickets to motorists feeling the need for speed on roadways where lanes are wide open during the coronavirus pandemic. From March 19, when the stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus began through April 19, 2020, officers issued 87% more citations to drivers suspected of speeding in excess of 100 mph. That's compared to the same period last year. The jump in speeding tickets coincides with a 35% decline in traffic volume. Officials say work crews taking advantage of reduced traffic to perform road maintenance are put in danger by speeding motorists. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
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FILE - This March 15, 2020 file photo shows very light traffic is seen in the afternoon on the Route 118 Ronald Reagan Freeway in Simi Valley, Calif. The California Highway Patrol is issuing a lot more tickets to motorists feeling the need for speed on roadways where lanes are wide open during the coronavirus pandemic. From March 19, when the stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus began through April 19, 2020, officers issued 87% more citations to drivers suspected of speeding in excess of 100 mph. That's compared to the same period last year. The jump in speeding tickets coincides with a 35% decline in traffic volume. Officials say work crews taking advantage of reduced traffic to perform road maintenance are put in danger by speeding motorists. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
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FILE - This March 15, 2020 file photo shows very light traffic is seen in the afternoon on the Route 118 Ronald Reagan Freeway in Simi Valley, Calif. The California Highway Patrol is issuing a lot more tickets to motorists feeling the need for speed on roadways where lanes are wide open during the coronavirus pandemic. From March 19, when the stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus began through April 19, 2020, officers issued 87% more citations to drivers suspected of speeding in excess of 100 mph. That's compared to the same period last year. The jump in speeding tickets coincides with a 35% decline in traffic volume. Officials say work crews taking advantage of reduced traffic to perform road maintenance are put in danger by speeding motorists. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The California Highway Patrol is issuing a lot more tickets to motorists feeling the need for speed on roadways where lanes are wide open during the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Wednesday.

From March 19, when the stay-at-home order began, through April 19, officers issued 2,493 citations to drivers suspected of speeding in excess of 100 mph, the CHP said. That’s compared to 1,335 during the same period last year — marking an 87% increase.

The jump in speeding tickets coincides with a 35% decline in traffic volume on state roads compared with 2019, according to information from the CHP, the Department of Transportation and the Office of Traffic Safety.

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CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley called the spike in citations “alarming.”

Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin said work crews taking advantage of reduced traffic to perform maintenance are put in danger by motorists “viewing less congested roads as an invitation to drive dangerously.”

Officials remind drivers that even with fewer cars on the roads, the state’s “Move Over” law remains in effect. It requires all motorists to move over a lane or slow down when they see flashing lights on Caltrans vehicles, police cars, ambulances and tow trucks.