CHP Cracking Down On Speeders Taking Advantage Of Empty Bay Area Freeways

Speeding tickets for those going over 100 MPH are way up.

April 15, 2020
Empty San Francisco

Justin Sullivan / Staff

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(By Katie Nielsen - KCBS)

BERKELEY (KPIX 5) — As people in the Bay Area continue to shelter in place, the California Highway Patrol says the empty freeways are turning into raceways. 

According to the California Highway Patrol, officers are seeing more drivers maxing out their speeds on the freeway, often going over 100 miles per hour.

According to the California Highway Patrol, officers are seeing more drivers maxing out their speeds on the freeway, often going over 100 miles per hour.

“We are seeing a lot of individuals unfortunately taking advantage of the situation and we are seeing some highers speeds,” said Ofc. John Fransen, the spokesperson for CHPs Golden Gate Division.

Highway Patrol offices across the Bay Area are posting pictures to social media showing speeding tickets or radar speeds. Almost all show pictures of drivers who’ve been caught driving with speeds in the triple digits.

It’s a trend that’s backed up by newly released data. CHP looked at the number of speeding tickets written state-wide from March 19 to 29 last year compared to this year.

The number of tickets written to people going over the posted speed limit was basically cut in half, mostly because there are fewer cars on the road.

The number of tickets written to drivers going over 100 miles per hour is up more than 25% with 418 tickets written last year versus 543 citations this year during the same 10-day period.

It’s something that could lead to more serious and deadly crashes.

“Our freeways aren’t designed for over 100 mph. Most vehicles aren’t designed for a hundred mile and hour plus impact,” said Fransen.

Drivers say they’re noticing the increased speeds as well.

“I’ve seen so many people just pass me up and I’m already going at maybe 65-70 miles an hour and so seeing anyone going past me, they’re going 80 miles an hour or above,” said Justin Shiu who was driving on Interstate 580 in Pleasanton. “It’s pretty reckless. It’s actually really dangerous.”

“It’s putting lives at risk,” said Samuel Medina who was driving in Dublin. “Even though people are staying home to be safe, the people that still need to go to work and are essential, they’re putting their lives at risk by just driving on the freeway these days.”

The CHP says staffing levels are not impacted by COVID-19 and there is more of an effort made on enforcement. Because the roads are so empty, anyone speeding sticks out like a sore thumb, so drivers are even more likely to get a ticket.