Revealed; Lockdown Speed Merchants Prefer Rural Roads

A new research paper by Agilysis analysing the effect on traffic speeds during lockdown has revealed startling difference in speeds on roads when the volume of traffic falls. Clear changes were seen on all roads, but the increase in speeds on rural roads was more marked.

Meanwhile, the number of drivers travelling 15mph above the limit also increased more on countryside roads than it did in our towns and cities. These results demonstrate the vital importance of speed enforcement, especially at times when more people are walking and cycling. Evidence from recorded casualty data in Essex indicates that collisions involving speeding drivers have increased significantly during lockdown. Targeting high-end offenders is recommended to ensure our roads are safe for everyone, during national or local lockdowns and beyond.

The data is a contrast to a survey that BBC published in June, which showed that there was a sudden increase in speeding in the South East and London, with many regional Police forces reporting a DROP in speeding cases.

What seemed to happen in the immediate aftermath of lockdown was that a minority of petrolheads used the empty roads for speed testing, often well over 100mph. But once traffic began to return to the roads and Police speed traps were set up, the incidence of extreme speeding fell away.

The report demonstrates that traffic flows in the post-lockdown period reduced by between 58 and 64 percent, with the biggest declines recorded on roads with speed limits above 50mph. When transformed for flow, a drop of 10,000 vehicle per day on a single stretch of 60 mph road was matched by an increased average speed of 2.2 mph. This was only 0.9 mph in 30 mph limits. High-end speeding was much more of a problem on 60 mph roads too, with vast increases in the proportion of drivers travelling more than 15mph above the limit. This effect was less pronounced on the rest of the road network including motorways and urban, low-speed roads.

The study was undertaken by Agilysis, leaders in transport safety analysis, following initial research into the effects of reduced traffic volumes on speeds on a small number of roads. The research project brings together data from several local authorities in rural and urban settings and looks at how traffic levels changed post-lockdown, and the impact on drivers’ speed choice.

Richard Owen, the lead author said, “When we initially reviewed the data in early April there was a clear increase in vehicle speeds during lockdown that was strongly associated with reduced traffic volumes. This comprehensive study has now demonstrated that offending behaviour has skyrocketed, especially on rural roads, where previously compliance with the limit has been good.”

There isn’t enough evidence available yet to indicate whether the changes in speeds, especially on rural roads, has resulted in more road deaths and serious injuries, although Department for Transport figures indicate that casualties have largely dropped in line with reducing traffic.

Evidence from the Safer Essex Roads Partnership (SERP) indicates that while the large drop in traffic has resulted in fewer collisions overall, the higher speeds have meant that injuries suffered by those who did have collisions were more serious. There was a 54% drop in the number of slight-injury collisions but only a 43% drop in collisions that resulted in death or serious injury. There was also a 35% increase in the proportion of collisions where inappropriate speed was recorded as a contributing factor.

The SERP has also noted an increase in the number of people cycling in Essex, and consequently there has been a small increase in the number of cyclist casualties at a time when total casualty numbers were falling. In the event of a collision with another vehicle, cyclists are more likely than car occupants to suffer a serious or fatal injury. This has also contributed to the increase in the average severity of recorded injuries.

Matt Hine, Road Crime Manager, Essex Police said, “The evidence here demonstrates that the temptation to drive faster on less congested roads has caused unnecessary suffering and put an avoidable strain on the NHS. It highlights the ongoing importance for all road users to follow the highway code, control their speed, pay full attention at all times and leave substantial margins for error.”

As lockdown restrictions ease and traffic levels rise there are concerns that drivers will have become accustomed to travelling as such high speeds, and this will result in more collisions in the future. In order to support the boom in active travel, through increased cycling and walking, we need to ensure that we do not place more vulnerable road users on the same streets as speeding vehicles with the obvious potential for harm. If we want to see continued safe cycling and walking the issue of high speeds on our roads needs to be addressed quickly.

police action against speeding drivers during lockdown

This just in from Motoring Offence Lawyers too;

A survey of 2,003 British motorists, carried out by motoring solicitor specialists, Motoring Offence Lawyers, has lifted the lid on the nation’s lockdown driving habits, revealing that more than half of UK drivers admitted to speeding during lockdown.

Despite 47% of motorists believing the roads have been safer recently due to the lower levels of traffic, more than 1 in 2 UK motorists (52%) admit they have broken the speed limit since the lockdown was imposed.

As many as 38% of drivers confess they have been less strict about signalling whilst out on the roads during lockdown and an additional 21% say they haven’t been checking their mirrors as often as they should.

1 in 5 also say they drove a car during lockdown despite there being an unresolved problem with the vehicle, such as a faulty brake light, headlight or running out of wiper fluid.

An additional 19% of those surveyed even admit to using a phone behind the wheel whilst the roads have been quieter.

Of those surveyed, 15% reveal they broke the rules of lockdown by being in a car with someone from outside their own household – an action which does not adhere to the Government’s strict social distancing regulations.

A further 12% confess they have parked somewhere they shouldn’t during lockdown, such as on double yellow lines, disabled spaces, or across a driveway, and almost 1 in 10 (9%) even say they have run a red light during this time.

Matthew Miller, Managing Director at Motoring Offence Lawyers, says: “Jumping in the car for a drive can be a great excuse to get away from the same four walls for a bit. As lockdown continues, it’s no surprise that the roads are quieter and that many feel it might therefore be a safer time to be on the roads – but it’s just as important to be fully away of surroundings and adhere to the highway code during lockdown as it is at any other time of year.

“Police departments up and down the country have been reporting increases in instances of speeding and our research confirms this, along with a number of other important driving standards that motorists appear to be letting slip as a result of ‘quieter’ roads.”

Motoring Offence Lawyers are a team of highly experienced solicitors dedicated to the defence of the motorist throughout England and Wales. Their team of motoring solicitors are genuine experts in motoring law and have helped thousands of people to limit the damage caused to them by prosecution for motoring offences.

About alastair walker 10932 Articles
20 years experience as a journalist and magazine editor. I'm your contact for press releases, events, news and commercial opportunities at Insurance-Edge.Net

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