California Sees Speeding Double Due to Coronavirus: Its impact on Auto Insurance
With California’s strict stay-at-home order due to COVID-19, Los Angeles’ freeways have become largely deserted. Being stuck bumper-to-bumper for hours on end on the 405 has become an almost distant memory. Our new reality on the road, however, has become quite concerning.
According to the LA Times, the California Highway Patrol has seen an alarming 87 percent increase in citations for speeding in excess of 100 mph. During the month after the start of the stay-at-home order in March, the CHP issued 2,493 tickets throughout California for speeding over 100 mph — almost doubling the amount of the same offense seen during the same period last year.
With traffic volume down about 35 percent from the same period last year, the California Department of Transportation has expedited improvement projects on the roads, putting construction workers at risk.
The pandemic might have emptied out the roads, but the potential for fatal accidents could be at an all time high. “With no traffic, people are pushing the envelope a little more. The crashes are a little more dynamic, fewer fender-benders. Almost everyone has an ambulance responding,” a California Highway Patrol Officer told the LA Times back in March.
ABC7 quoted another California Highway Patrol Officer on the current state of LA highways: “The good news is there’s less traffic, but what that comes more speeders, erratic drivers.”
Though the amount of calls the CHP received before the coronavirus outbreak have dropped compared to the number of fender-benders that occurred during normal gridlock previously, the severity of accidents has gone up.
Nowadays, the agency is witnessing more rollover incidents, single-car collisions, and more ambulances responding due to the higher volume of speeders on the empty roads, which has resulted in far more dangerous results.
How Does This Impact My Auto Insurance?
It is expected to assume that a rise in speeding throughout Los Angeles and California overall means auto insurance premiums would go up. Fortunately, at this time, this isn’t the case.
Since people are driving less these days, California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara ordered insurance companies to return premiums paid for at least March and April, and potentially May if stay-at-home restrictions continue.
Per his bulletin, Commissioner Lara ordered insurance companies to provide a premium credit, reduction, return of premium, or other appropriate premium adjustment as soon as possible, and no later than August 2020.
He ordered insurers to make an initial premium refund for the months of March and April to all adversely impacted California policyholders in the following lines of insurance:
- Private passenger automobile insurance
- Commercial automobile insurance
- Workers’ compensation insurance
- Commercial multiple peril insurance
- Commercial liability insurance
- Medical malpractice insurance
- Any other line of coverage where the measures of risk have become substantially overstated as a result of the pandemic
Companies like State Farm, Farmers Insurance, USAA, and more have already offered to return premiums to their customers. Be sure to call your insurer and ask about refunds and/or rebates and remind them what their competitors are already offering. Be sure to emphasize the decrease in driving and risk, hence why a lower premium might be fair.
Dangers of Speeding
During these trying times, one can understand why drivers are speeding more. Maybe they want to beat out those lines at Costco, or maybe they’re rushing after work to someplace that now closes early at 6 p.m. We’re currently living through a new normal, one that we have to get used to. However, time constraints have always existed, and speeding, whether before or after the coronavirus, still poses a danger to every motorist, cyclist, and pedestrian.
According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 30 percent of all fatal car accidents can be directly attributed to speeding. Furthermore, according to the National Safety Council, about 13,000 lives are lost yearly as a direct consequence of speeding.
Though a logical concept, The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) noted a direct and obvious correlation between vehicle speed and crash severity. The faster a vehicle is traveling, the more catastrophic a speeding accident can be.
- Loss of vehicle control
- Reduced effectiveness of airbags and crash safety technology
- Decreased reaction times
- Increased degree of crash severity
- Increased severity of bodily injuries
- Increased property damages and medical costs
West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help
Due to the coronavirus emergency, there are a lack of vehicles on the road along with a decrease in car accidents. However, speeding has become an issue that has contributed to a higher chance of fatal accidents from occurring. At West Coast Trial Lawyers, our car accident attorneys have seen first-hand the damages a speeding vehicle may do to innocent victims and their families.
We are here to help those who suffered from injuries and losses by getting them the maximum compensation they deserve. Since a majority of car accident injuries are often catastrophic and life-changing, victims and their families are urged to seek representation by a skilled car accident attorney.
Call us today at (888) 341-9802 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.
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