CHP: California vehicle crashes down 75 percent during shutdown, but extreme speeding cases increase

CHP: California vehicle crashes down 75 percent during shutdown, but extreme speeding cases increase

  • Updated

The California Highway Patrol is reporting far fewer vehicle crashes and road deaths during the statewide stay-at-home order triggered by the coronavirus pandemic - but a sharp increase in the number of citations for driving far above speed limits.

Data from the CHP's statewide traffic-data system shows 75 percent fewer crashes between March 19 and April 30 compared to the same six-week period in 2019, the agency said in a news release. The period covers the early weeks of California's shelter-at-home directive, which took effect March 20.

The number of crash-related deaths fell 88 percent from the same period a year earlier, and injuries sustained in crashes were down 62 percent. There were 60 percent fewer crashes involving a truck, and 88 percent fewer deaths from such incidents compared to 2019, CHP reported.

Also decreasing during the stay-home order were arrests by CHP officers for driving under the influence, with 42 percent fewer cases, the agency reported.

However, the highway patrol also reported more high-speed citations than before the pandemic, as the shutdown of non-essential business and tourism left highways far emptier than normal. CHP officers cited 2,738 drivers for exceeding 100 mph between March 19 and April 30, up 46 percent from the same period a year ago.

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