Maryland cracks down on drivers excessively speeding

An unexpected side effect of the coronavirus pandemic has been an increase in the number of drivers reaching triple digit speeds on local roads.

Maryland State Police are cracking down on drivers who seem to think no traffic means no traffic laws.

With fewer people on the open road, troopers are seeing more drivers speeding, said Greg Shipley, spokesperson for Maryland State Police.

“We do know that we see people out there excessively exceeding the speed limit. Several weeks ago, someone was stopped in the Capital Beltway region doing 136 miles an hour and someone else was stopped doing over 100 miles an hour, and they were also impaired,” Shipley said.

Between May 15-18, Maryland State Police troopers stopped nearly 500 drivers across the state.

On I-495, troopers in Prince George’s County issued 19 citations and nine warnings. In Berlin, on the way to the beach, troopers stopped 145 drivers who Shipley said were out of line.

“Our troopers work enforcement that is data-driven. We look at where the crashes are occurring, where the speeding complaints are occurring, where the impaired drivers are occurring most, and that’s where our efforts are focused,” he said.

“We are seriously not trying to see how many citations we can issue, we’re trying to see how much safer we can make the highways and that’s what our goal is.”

It’s unclear exactly what is motivating drivers to speed — whether it’s the novelty of lesser traffic, the independence many are not experiencing at home, or just the thrill. Regardless, Shipley said it’s unsafe.

“There’s no sense in trying to keep yourself healthy if you’re not keeping yourself safe on the highway,” he said.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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