OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The California Highway Patrol has launched a maximum enforcement period for Memorial Day weekend, targeting an outbreak of drivers speeding at more than 100 mph on San Francisco Bay Area freeways during the COVID-19 shelter in place.
In many areas, the near empty freeways have turned into raceways for some drivers.
“I see people are doing 130, even 140,” says San Jose driver Prasanna Sane.
According to a new report just released by the California Highway Patrol, from March 19 to April 30 this year, officers wrote about 4,000 tickets to people caught speeding over 100 miles per hour statewide. That’s more than double the same time period last year.
“Our freeway systems are not the (German) autobahn,” said CHP Officer John Fransen. “They’re not designed for people to travel over 100 miles per hour, and vehicles are not designed for 100 mile per hour impact.”
That same report shows due to the decrease in the number of cars on the road, the number of crashes are down by 75% and the number of fatal crashes are down 88% when looking at the same time periods.
Now the question is what will happen on the roads when a shelter-in-place order is combined with a holiday weekend.
“This is unprescidented times, so it’s really hard to tell how those statistics are going to look. It’s anybody’s guess how this is going to play out,” Fransen said.
The biggest concern is still seeing excessive speeds on the roads then combine that with alcohol.
“When you mix that in with people that are traveling over 100 miles an hour, obviously that has the potential for disaster,” Fransen said.
CHP officers in Contra Costa County posted pictures to social media showing a driver they arrested Friday afternoon. According to the post, she was caught driving 95 miles per hour on I-680, had no insurance, and was drunk.
“There’s always people drinking and driving and now they’re driving faster. I’m staying home this weekend. I’m not going anywhere,” said Santa Cruz resident Courtney Triggs.
“I’ll try to stay home this weekend, or at least try to stay off the freeways so I don’t put myself into danger,” Sane added.
The maximum enforcement period runs through Monday night. CHP says they’ll specifically be looking for people not wearing seatbelts, speeding, or driving under the influence.