Orange County

New traffic study suggests the pandemic contributes to speeding

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Speeding is one of the most common complaints the Orange County Sheriff’s Office receives.


Traffic agencies across the nation say they are seeing a rise in people going too fast on roadways and a new study suggests the pandemic is to blame.

Sgt. Gerald McDaniels of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said people are going too fast.

He said that where the posted speed limit is 35 mph, there are people who go 98 mph, and on Interstate 4, police have caught people going 100 or higher on a regular basis.

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Data has shown that speeding has become the new normal after the pandemic.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety compared speeding data in Virginia across a four-month period in 2019 and 2020. They found that across the nation, fewer people were on the roads during the start of the pandemic.

“The data is telling us that people are still continuing to speed and it’s really been spiking the deaths that we’ve been seeing on our roads,” said Jessica Cicchino, vice president of research at IIHS.

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At the same time, Central Florida roads have changed.

“The better we get at making that infrastructure for roads alleviates traffic congestion,” McDaniels said. “But then it also opens up the roads for people to actually go those higher speeds.”

Last month, an Orlando police officer’s radar gun clocked a car going 120 mph on the I4 Express lanes.

In December, one Central Florida driver received a citation, which cost over a thousand dollars, for spending along the Beachline near I-Drive. The driver was going 135 mph in a 65 mph zone.

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“[Speeding] always contributes to over a quarter of crash deaths,” Cicchino said. “But it’s still something that lots of people do and think is safe to do.”

The sheriff’s office hopes drivers heed its warning and slow down their speeds.

IIHS said speeding-related fatalities went up in 2020 by 17% and they are worried that the number will continue to rise.

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