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Lockdown drivers abusing speed limits

More drivers have been seen breaking the speed limit during the lockdown – with latest research finding nearly half of drivers say speeding has increased.

44% of UK adults say they have seen more drivers speeding during lockdown

A total of 44% of UK adults say they have seen more drivers speeding now than they did before the Government introduced the coronavirus lockdown, according to RAC research. Roads with 30mph limits appear to be the most abused, with 23% of the 2,020 people questioned by the RAC saying they had seen drivers very obviously breaking the law by going too fast.

A total of 15% of respondents said they had seen drivers breaking both 20mph and 40mph limits, while 10% felt there was an increase in speeders in 50mph limits.

The uplift in speeders was less pronounced in 60mph and 70mph limits.

And 5% of those surveyed believed they had witnessed vehicles racing on public roads.

The research is backed up by evidence from police forces across the country; during the Easter weekend, the Met Police clocked one driver doing 134mph in a 40mph zone as part of a spate of “extreme” speeding.

Greater Manchester Police have also recorded a driver going 129mph on the M62.

RAC road safety spokesman Simon Williams said: “The frightening conclusion from our research is that a significant number of irresponsible drivers are taking advantage of quiet ‘lockdown’ roads by driving far too fast, putting lives unnecessarily at risk.

“Since the Government told the nation to stay at home many roads have become almost deserted so it’s a concern this is being seen by some as an opportunity to illegally ignore speed limits. It would only take a fraction of a second when driving well over the speed limit for something terrible to happen. Couple this behaviour with the fact there are many cyclists on our roads and more people are having to walk in the road to maintain a safe distance from others on pavements and you have a recipe for disaster.

“The last thing the NHS needs as it works night and day to help patients with coronavirus is to have to deal with people injured in avoidable road traffic collisions caused by motorists driving far too fast.”

While some police forces, including Greater Manchester and the Met, have already announced a crackdown on speeding, the RAC has called for police speed traps to be adopted nationally – a view already expressed by IAM RoadSmart.

But fleets have also been urged to take action; FleetCheck – which says it’s also heard anecdotal reports of drivers ignoring traffic lights and misusing roundabouts – has urged employers to tell their drivers who are still on the roads to take extra care at the moment.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news.