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Speeding increases on Chicago roads during the COVID-19 shutdown

May 4, 2020

Fewer people have been traveling in the greater Chicago area since the statewide COVID-19 lockdown was put in place in March. Not everyone has stayed home. Some Chicago residents have to get to work, to medical appointments, and to the grocery store.

Even as Illinois begins to transition back to normal, there will still be far less traffic congestion than there was prior to COVID-19.

Less traffic, more speeding

With fewer people on the road, there is a safety trade-off, however. Drivers are traveling at dangerous speeds now more than ever. According to Block Club Chicago, speeding has resulted in several recent serious crashes:

  • A speeding driver ran a red light and T-boned a bus, according to Chicago Sun Times. Four people were taken to the hospital as a result.
  • A speeding driver died in a single-vehicle crash after rolling over and hitting a traffic light pole, according to Chicago Sun Times.

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) recently tweeted that speeding has increased by 14 percent during the COVID-19 shutdown in comparison to the same period in 2019.

“The health and safety of Chicago residents remains a top priority for the Chicago Department of Transportation, which is why this increase in speeding is a cause for concern as it is a major factor in causing crashes and injuries,” said CDOT spokesman Mike Claffey in an email.

According to Claffey:

  • 38,444 speeding violations were recorded from March 24-April 19, 2019
  • 44,199 speeding violations were recorded from March 22-April 17, 2020

The city has turned off speeding cameras in school zones (due to school closures). So, the number of undetected speeding violations could be much higher.

“CDOT reminds the public that they should not be traveling during the stay at home order, unless they are an essential worker or making an essential trip,” said Claffey. “If you must drive somewhere, drive the speed limit, which is 30 mph in most of the city.”

Why is speeding so dangerous?

According to crash data from the NHTSA, approximately 9,378 people were killed in speed-related crashes across the U.S. in 2018. Speeding is particularly dangerous because it increases the likelihood of a crash being severe or deadly. Speeders also have less time to react to a collision risk and have less control of their car.

Drivers often speed when they are:

  • Stressed out
  • Impaired by drugs and/or alcohol
  • Sometimes just for the thrill of it

If you or a loved one was injured in a crash with a speeding driver during the statewide shutdown, don’t hesitate to consult with an experienced Chicago car accident attorney. Contact Coplan + Crane online or call us at 800-394-6002 to schedule your free case evaluation.