Traffic Volume Is Down But Extreme Speeding Is Up During COVID-19

More drivers are committing speeding violations over 25mph above the speed limit during the quarantine.
Timelapse photo of traffic going in and out of a city at dusk.

Overall, there is a lot of good news in the driving world because of the quarantine and shelter-at-home orders across the country. Traffic volume has plummeted 30-60+%. Traffic accidents have decreased by 50-75%. And injuries and fatalities due to car crashes are lower, too.

Extreme speeding is up

Sadly, all of the news is not good news in the traffic arena. In some areas, police are reporting that while there are fewer vehicles traveling, there has been a “severe spike in speeding” at very dangerous speeds across the nation. 

In Oregon, police stopped a driver for doing 105 mph (miles per hour) in a 55 mph zone. In Georgia, one motorcyclist was even caught going 172 mph.

Speeding is one of the biggest causes of preventable car accidents, as is driving too fast for the conditions. When there are dangerous conditions (like rain, ice, fog, snow, potholes, or debris in the road), it’s important for drivers to slow down to even lower than the speed limit, as conditions allow.

If people speed at 100mph or more, they dramatically increase the likelihood of accidents involving injuries and death. So even though traffic volume may be lower, motorists still need to adhere to the posted speed limit signs. Or we won’t see an appreciable drop in traffic-related injuries and fatalities.

Penalties for speeding

There are different penalties for different levels of speeding and they can vary by state. In most states, the maximum highway speed ranges from 65mph to 75mph.

In South Carolina, there are maximum speed limits for different kinds of roadways:

  • 75 mph on interstates where 75mph is the posted speed limit.
  • 65 mph on multi-lane divided primary highways where 65mph is the posted speed limit.
  • 55 mph in most locations
  • 40 mph on unpaved roads
  • 30 mph in urban districts and residential areas

If dangerous conditions exist, drivers must go slower than the posted speed limits in accordance with what is prudent for the current conditions.

Most speeding violations are misdemeanors in South Carolina.

First offense in SC

  • Up to 10 mph over the limit = fine of $15-25
  • Between 10mph and 15mph over the limit = fine of $20-50
  • Between 15mph and 25 mph over the limit = fine of $50-75
  • Over 25 mph over the limit = fine of $75-200 or up to 30 days in jail

Any speeding ticket will also usually add demerit points to a driver’s license with the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles).

Subsequent convictions in SC

If speeding is severe enough, it could lead to a “reckless driving” conviction. This means “driving any vehicle in such a manner as to indicate either a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property” S.C. Code   56-5-2920. In South Carolina, driving 25 mph or more over the speed limit is considered reckless driving.

Each state has its own excessive speed threshold. In South Carolina, the excessive speed threshold is 25mph above the speed limit. The maximum penalty is 30 days of imprisonment, a $200 fine, and a suspended driver’s license.

Reckless driving is a criminal offense which is why it carries jail time as a penalty. A conviction also adds 6 points to the driver’s license and will increase his/her insurance premiums.

Have you been seriously hurt in a car wreck recently?

If you have been seriously injured in an auto accident, motorcycle accident, truck accident, bicycle accident, or pedestrian accident, please seek experienced legal representation. You can usually get a free consultation with a personal injury attorney to find out if you may have a good case to bring against the other driver.

If the other driver was legally at fault for your injuries, you may deserve compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills, property damages, and possibly other damages.

If possible, try to collect all the information you can at the scene of the accident. Get pictures of the vehicles, contact information from any other drivers involved, contact information from any witnesses, car insurance information from the other driver, the police report information, contact info for the police department involved, and record any statements the other driver makes.

Be sure to get appropriate medical care right away even if you don’t feel injured at first. And keep all of your medical bills, receipts, and other accident-related medical debt information to give to your attorney.

Have you been charged with reckless driving in South Carolina?

If you have been charged with reckless driving in South Carolina recently, please contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. You may be facing a traffic ticket, points on your license, criminal charges, insurance rate increases because of your driving record, and even jail time.

An experienced criminal attorney may be able to help you get your penalties reduced, as well as possibly lowering the number of points on your license.

Are you looking for a personal injury attorney in the Columbia, SC area?

Burriss and Ridgeway is a personal injury law firm with many years of experience handling personal injury cases. We have the experience, knowledge, and compassion you need to fight for you against insurance companies. We also have plenty of courtroom experience and we won’t back down from a fight if a settlement won’t provide the compensation your case deserves. 

At Burriss and Ridgeway, we also have the expertise you need to help you fight traffic violations and criminal charges. If you have been charged with reckless driving or excessive speeding, reach out for help right away.

We are honoring social distancing practices during the quarantine period for COVID-19. So we would be happy to provide video or phone appointments so that you don’t have to come into our office whenever possible.

Please contact us today! 

Let’s get started to see what we can do to help you. We have 3 offices conveniently located in Lexington, Orangeburg, and Columbia, SC.

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