Santa Clarita traffic collisions decrease but speeding remains a problem

A Santa Clarita Valley sheriff's deputy watches for speeding motorists on Copper Hill Drive in this 2017 Signal file photo. Katharine Lotze/The Signal
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While there are fewer traffic collisions in the Santa Clarita Valley since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, speeders seem to be going a little bit faster, and more often, on the open roads, according to law enforcement officials.

“Tickets are also down, but the average speeding ticket mph overage is a lot higher,” said Josh Greengard, a spokesman for the CHP Newhall-area Office. “Ninety to 100 mph tickets are more prevalent in the last couple months.”

CHP officers responded to 244 traffic collisions in March and 151 in April of this year. Last year, in March the CHP Newhall office responded to 317 traffic collisions and 217 in April.

Additionally, the California Highway Patrol office has said its ticket volume and collisions have decreased, but other infractions have increased.

In fact, CHP officers made 43 DUI arrests in March of this year and 40 in April, compared to the 43 in March of 2019 and 47 in April 2019.

In a social media post put up on Tuesday night, Shirley Miller, a spokeswoman for the SCV Sheriff’s Station, attested to the fact that deputies are out in force monitoring speeds.

“Roads, emptier during the COVID-19 pandemic due to school campuses and businesses being closed, have been a temptation for some to drive at higher speeds, presenting a dangerous situation due to an increase in pedestrians,” read the SCV Sheriff’s Station social media post. “The average citation issued this morning was for exceeding the speed limit by approximately 15 miles. Not OK SCV, slow down.”

Since Jan. 1, SCV Sheriff’s Station deputies responded to 425 traffic collisions, 162 of which caused injury, including two fatalities.

In that same time frame, they issued 6,074 traffic citations.

Comparing that against last year, when for the same time frame the SCV had 640 traffic collisions, 170 of which caused injury and four of which were fatal. Traffic deputies, in that same time frame, issued 6,118 citations.

In the last few weeks, the SCV Sheriff’s Station has made a number of posts about speeding. In one post, a driver was cited for creating a “dangerous situation” for pedestrians on Soledad Canyon Road. In another post, published on May 11, station officials said they had conducted an enforcement operation that same day and issued 28 citations for speeds exceeding speeds of 65 mph in a 50 mph zone in Canyon Country. And in another, published on May 6, deputies arrested an 18-year-old man on suspicion of “exhibition of speed” after he was believed to have done “doughnuts” in his Ford Mustang near Centre Pointe Parkway in Canyon Country.

Sgt. Scott Shoemaker of the SCV Sheriff’s Station Traffic Unit said a large number of the tickets on SCV roads have been related to drivers heading fast down empty roads.

“I would say the majority are going to be speeding tickets,” said Shoemaker.

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