Maine Governor Janet Mills issued a statewide stay-at-home order on March 31, 2020 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Until May 31, residents are urged to avoid traveling unless it's for essential purposes, such as going to work, getting groceries, or attending medical appointments.
Our roads are relatively empty as a result of the statewide shutdown. In fact, turnpike traffic has dropped 56 percent since March 16. With less traffic, a new danger has emerged. According to the Bangor Daily News, statewide traffic collisions are currently down, but speeding has significantly increased on Maine roads.
Speeding deaths and citations on the rise
In Maine, eight people died in seven crashes from March 22 - April 19. Six of those crashes were speed-related. Nine people were killed in statewide crashes during the same period in 2019, but only three of those deaths were caused by speeding.
The uptick of speeding isn't just apparent through the number of fatal crashes, however. Roughly 39 percent of traffic citations issued from March 22 - April 19 were for speeding, compared to 36 percent during the same time last year.
What's causing the uptick in speeding?
A report by the Governors Highway Safety Association finds that this uptick in speeding has occurred across the U.S., with some drivers being clocked at speeds greater than 100 mph.
There are many drivers who generally have the urge to exceed the speed limit. The only thing stopping them is traffic congestion and law enforcement. Some drivers see the reduction in traffic congestion as an opportunity to exceed the speed limit. Unfortunately, police aren't always around the catch them.
Maine Bureau of Highway Safety director Lauren Stewart explains why drivers must resist the urge to speed.
“We can all see less cars on the roads these days and while fewer cars and less traffic may lead to temptation, motorists need to keep in mind that crashes involving higher speeds are more likely to result in severe injuries and death. Speeding is not a victimless crime when it endangers the lives of everyone on the road,” said Stewart.
Why is speeding so dangerous?
While many people are avoiding travel during this time, more people are going out for walks and getting fresh air. When drivers exceed the posted speed limit, they may not be prepared to stop to avoid hitting a pedestrian or another car.
Furthermore, drivers who travel at dangerous speeds generally have less control of their vehicles. This can be dangerous when navigating curves in the road or encountering wet or slippery road surfaces.
There is no excuse for putting other people's lives in danger. If you or a loved one was injured in a crash involving a speeding driver, it's critical that you seek legal help from an experienced car accident attorney.
The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein offers free case evaluations to injured motorists throughout Maine. In order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we are offering remote consultations through Skype, Facetime, or Zoom. To learn more, contact us online or call us toll-free at 1-800-225-5563.