The aftermath of a fatal high-speed crash at Anaheim Street and Pacific Coast Highway on March 23, 2020. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

The California Highway Patrol is issuing a lot more tickets to motorists feeling the need for speed on roadways where lanes are wide open during the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Wednesday.

From March 19, when the stay-at-home order began, through April 19, officers issued 2,493 citations to drivers suspected of speeding in excess of 100 mph, the CHP said. That’s compared to 1,335 during the same period last year—marking an 87% increase.

The jump in speeding tickets coincides with a 35% decline in traffic volume on state roads compared with 2019, according to information from the CHP, the Department of Transportation and the Office of Traffic Safety.

“There’s some people out there that are taking advantage of it and it’s dangerous to say the least,” said Long Beach Fire Chief Xavier Espino who’s seen the evidence firsthand on his 45-mile commute to work.

“I can tell you the speeds at which people are passing me are unbelievable,” Espino said.

Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin said work crews taking advantage of reduced traffic to perform maintenance are put in danger by motorists “viewing less congested roads as an invitation to drive dangerously.”

Officials remind drivers that even with fewer cars on the roads, the state’s “Move Over” law remains in effect. It requires all motorists to move over a lane or slow down when they see flashing lights on Caltrans vehicles, police cars, ambulances and tow trucks.

Long Beach Post Breaking News Editor Jeremiah Dobruck contributed to this report.