Motorists paying a big price when they get caught



Caltrans launched a joint effort with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the California Office of Traffic Safety to urge drivers in the state to slow down given a recent 87% increase in citations for speeding in excess of 100 mph that coincides with decreased traffic volumes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

From March 19 when the state’s stay-at-home order began to April 19, the CHP reports issuing 2,493 citations statewide for speeding more than 100 mph, as compared to 1,335 during the same period last year.

The increase hasn't been quite as dramatic at the CHP's Buttonwillow offices, but it has still risen by nearly 20 percent.

CHP officer Adam Taylor said the Buttonwillow area issued 106 citations for exceeding 100 MPH during the first month of the Stay-At-Home Order (March 19-4-April 20). During that same time period in 2019 officers issued 89 citations for exceeding 100 mph. That is a 19% increase. 

"We would like to remind everyone that we are still out here enforcing the laws of California during this pandemic and that lighter traffic is not an invitation to speed," Taylor said. "Crashes at higher speeds are more likely to cause serious injury or death.  Being ticketed for those high speeds can result in a license suspension, higher insurance rates, thousands of dollars in court fines and even jail time.

Please slow down and get to your destination safely and remember that someone, including all of us here at Buttonwillow CHP, want you to get home safely."

The increase in citations occurred as Caltrans has measured an average decline in traffic volume on state roads of approximately 35% as compared to this time last year.

“Excessive speed and unsafe driving threaten everyone using our highway system,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin. “Viewing less congested roads as an invitation to drive dangerously jeopardizes the safety of construction and maintenance crews who are working to maintain reliable access to our highways when people need it most.”

“It is alarming to see the number of citations officers are writing for excessive speeds on California roadways,” said CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley. “Higher speeds can lead to much more serious injuries and significantly increase the chance of death should a crash occur. Keep yourself and those on the road around you safe. Slow down and drive at a safe, legal speed.”

California’s “Move Over” law continues to be in effect and requires all drivers to move over a lane or, if unable to do so safely, slow down when they see amber flashing lights on Caltrans vehicles, law enforcement and emergency vehicles, and tow trucks