More drivers hitting deadly speeds on Florida highways, sheriff says: 'Absolute disregard for traffic law'

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The National Highway and Traffic Administration says almost a third of fatal crashes involve people who were speeding.

Still, the Volusia County sheriff says we’re seeing more drivers than ever barreling down the speedways at 100 miles an hour or more.

That’s how a hunk of metal wound up almost unrecognizable as a car in Polk County. The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) says the driver was going 130 miles an hour down Interstate 4. Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood says in his 36-year-long law enforcement career, he’s been involved in plenty of chases, but not like what we see these days.

"In a couple of hours' worth of work, you're writing dozens of tickets on people over 100. And it just it just boggles my mind."

His office just dealt with a case where a motorcyclist was caught going about 145 mph.

"It seems since COVID, there has been an absolute disregard for traffic laws, traffic safety, irresponsible driving."


However, going after speeders is a tough call for law enforcement. They have to consider whether a chase would create more danger to the public.

Sheriff Chitwood says Ashton Jarvis, that motorcyclist allegedly traveling at speeds of 145 mph, had escaped deputies twice before at Bike Week before they finally caught him. Sometimes, deputies can try pit maneuvers to stop dangerous drivers. Sometimes, they let the driver go and try to catch them later.

"It's one of the most dangerous things that we do because there's so much of it unknown," said Sheriff Chitwood.

The Florida Safety Council says your risk of dying in a crash doubles for every 10 mph you go faster. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) says if you're driving 50 mph, you need at least three seconds to react and avoid something in front of you. At that speed, you'll travel about 245 feet in those three seconds. The faster you go, the less time you have and the more space you need.