Biscuit (Noun) : A person who is willfully ignorant and almost certainly incompetent

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Slow Down and Pay Attention!

Your life may depend on it. One of the first times I was back in Indiana during the midst of the pandemic I noticed that I-465 had become nothing short of an audition for the Indy 500.

I generally cruise that road between 65-70MPH depending on traffic, but suddenly things were different. Very different.

Doing 70 MPH (in a 55 MPH zone) wasn’t good enough. I was literally getting my doors blown off – regularly. I wouldn’t even say I was in the top one third speeders on the road. And it’s only gotten worse, and it’s not just 465.

A little research uncovered some interesting facts. Despite there being a ton less miles driven in 2020, there were more highway traffic deaths – a lot more.

The latest data shows the number of highway deaths in 2020 was the greatest in more than a decade even though cars and trucks drove fewer miles during the pandemic.

“Summer is an incredibly dangerous time. And it culminates with Labor Day, that last hurrah,” said Pam Shadel Fischer of the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Traffic data indicates the higher death toll was related to higher average speeds in conjunction with more of those on the roads driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and a slight decline in seat belt use.

Motorists do not seem to be slowing down.

“People are flying down the roads,” Maine State Police Cpl. Doug Cropper said of summer traffic on Interstate 95. “It’s just ridiculous.”

Tickets issued by the California Highway Patrol for speeding in excess of 100 mph from January to June were nearly double pre-pandemic levels, and the number of tickets for reckless driving citations grew, as well, officials said.

In New York state, the percentage of fatalities for which speeding was the primary cause and the total number of speeding tickets grew from January through June, compared to the year before the pandemic, officials said.

Florida is no different – back in May I crossed the Georgia/Florida line at I-75 with my cruise set at 82 MPH. In the 27 miles I drove to I-10 I was passed 31 times. Several of those drivers were going at least 95 MPH.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sounded the warning early in the pandemic about speeding and reckless driving.

The agency expected fatalities to decline with fewer miles driven, similar to previous declines during economic downturns. But the fatalities grew throughout the pandemic, and even picked up steam in the latter part of the year.

In the end, traffic deaths nationwide in 2020 grew about 7.2% to 38,680 even though there was a 13.2% reduction in the number of miles traveled, according to the NHTSA estimates. It was the deadliest year on highways since 2007.

So be careful out there – I post the “Congratulations You’re Stupid” column to remind you that we are surrounded by biscuits – and damn near all of them are driving on our highways.

Author’s note: portions of this article came from statistics published by the Associated Press.

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