LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Clear highways, even during rush hour, have become a sign of the times as stay at home orders have forced people indoors to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“It surprised me,” Shanelle Gonzalez, a California Highway Patrol officer, said. “It scares me too.”
Gonzalez, who works with the Southern Division of CHP, said now that fewer people are on the road, she’s dealing with a new set of dangers as drivers, facing little resistance, increase their speeds.
“I want to protect myself and protect anyone else out there,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said she and her colleagues noticed an uptick in people driving well over the posted speed limit as soon as statewide stay at home orders went into effect, and it’s happening in Northern California, too.
The Golden Gate CHP tweeted about speeding citations on the rise in the Bay Area.
SPEEDING CITATIONS ON THE RISE 🏎🚓
We are seeing a rise in motorists traveling at excessive speeds in the #bayarea. We are still out in force and will continue to issue citations. There is no faster way to get a suspended license than driving 100mph+! pic.twitter.com/p4o2onjWWR
— CHP Golden Gate (@CHP_GoldenGate) March 27, 2020
And although the CHP’s call volume has decreased, the crashes they have recently responded to have been worse.
“We’re getting those overturned vehicles,” Gonzalez said. “And we’re seeing that there’s more injuries.”
And when Gonzalez makes her traffic stops, she said she has a simple question for them.
“If they know how fast they were going,” she said with a laugh. “And they know once I’m behind them.”
For drivers tempted when they see an open road, Gonzalez had some advice.
“Don’t do it,” she said.