Last year was different in countless ways. Some changes were predictable, while others were not. Something that caught many by surprise was that the pandemic led to empty roads as businesses shut down or employees worked from home. The wide-open highways and surface roads subsequently led to drivers traveling at extreme speeds, with a record number of speeding tickets for drivers going faster than 100 mph.

Things are returning to normal or a new normal, but law enforcement now reports that drivers’ averages are not going back down despite an increase in traffic on the roads. Law enforcement in Pennsylvania and around the country have responded by mounting campaigns to reduce speeds by issuing more tickets. A recent campaign in Exeter Township quickly issued many speeding tickets, including two to drivers going faster than 90 mph. Moreover, officers across the country also report seeing a slight decline in seatbelt use. There was also an increase in tailgating, drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and dangerous lane changes.

Safe driving is essential

Law enforcement’s goal is not to issue many hefty fines for extreme speed and reckless driving. It is about saving lives: The National Transportation Safety Bureau recently found that speeding caused 31% of all road-related fatalities, and not all the deceased were the ones speeding.

This follows 2020, the deadliest year on the roads since 2007, with 40,000 fatalities despite vehicles traveling 13% fewer miles. Now the number of miles traveled is back up, but the reckless driving remains.

With summer now behind us, let’s hope that drivers slow down as fall and then winter will have darker and more slippery roads. Even those driving defensively may find themselves the victim of another driver’s recklessness. It may force victims or their families to act to hold the reckless accountable for their behavior.