With speeding-related crashes on the rise in the city of Los Angeles amid the COVID-19 pandemic, police on Thursday had a simple message to motorists: slow down.
The vast majority of the more than 6,500 collisions reported in the city thus far in 2020 have involved excessive speeds, according to Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Gary Walters.
That’s a higher number than this point last year. However, LAPD officials noted that, to date, there have been fewer deadly crashes, with 150 fatalities reported this year.
“So what we’re seeing is, a decrease in the number of fatal collisions, but we’re seeing an increase in our severe collisions and collisions related to speed,” LAPD Capt. John Pinto said.
Excessive speeds became an issue after stay-at-home orders were issued in March due to the coronavirus, as fewer motorists hit the roads for their daily work commutes.
Drivers traveling above 100 mph have been a problem not just on L.A. streets, but on freeways across California.
Since April, the California Highway Patrol has seen an 87% increase in the number of citations issued for motorists going at least 100 mph, Walters said.
That’s a misdemeanor in the state — not just an infraction — and can lead to an arrest and the impounding of the person’s vehicle, he added.
Police are urging drivers to slow down, saying that the potential for injuries are much greater, and the criminal consequences and civil penalties higher, for collisions that involve speedings.
“Number one: the faster you go, the less time you have to avoid a collision. Number two: the faster you go, the greater the injuries to yourself and others. Number three: the faster you go, the greater the civil penalties. And number four: the faster you go, the greater the criminal consequences,” Pinto said.
LAPD advises motorists to allow extra time to get to their destinations so they can stay within the speed limits and — most importantly — get there safely.
“We need the community’s support in reducing this epidemic of serious injury and sometimes fatal collisions,” Pinto said.