Last Updated: 24/11/2020
The first national lockdown changed the way people behaved as most of us were instructed to stay at home and help save lives, however, some behaviours carried with them lethal consequences as roads emptied and opportunities to speed became available to the less conscientious.
Government statistics available from the Department for Transport shows that the number of motorists exceeding 60mph increased significantly on single roads in the last lockdown.
Figures were also up on urban roads where the number of drivers breaking the 30mph limit increased.
Lockdown saw a sharp drop in the number of vehicles on the road and many drivers would have been able to complete their journeys much quicker.
Nevertheless, the opportunity to speed on emptier roads may have created the increase.
The Department for Transport statisticians noted that normally, drivers tend to comply with speed limits, but during lockdown the change in behaviour was very worrying.
Nicholas Lyes, Head of Roads Policy with the RAC commented “This data confirms what we previously suspected: lower traffic volumes sadly led to some shocking levels of speed limit disobedience, particularly on 30mph limit roads.
Jack Cousens, head of road policy for the AA, said: “It is worrying that more drivers broke the speed limit when there was less traffic on Britain’s streets during the lockdown. Also of great concern was the increase on 30mph roads, given there were more pedestrians and cyclists exercising or avoiding public transport during the first lockdown.”
He added “This dangerous behaviour unnecessarily put lives at risk during the first national lockdown when more people were walking and cycling. Empty roads should not be an excuse to drive dangerously and it would be frightening to think one of the legacies of the lockdown is a complete disregard for speed limits and other road users’ safety.”
According to the RAC, In the first three weeks of lockdown more than 17,000 speeding tickets, almost half of the number issued the previous year, were issued to drivers by UK police forces across the country.
At the beginning of lockdown, most of the police forces had caught drivers speeding more than 100mph on motorways and A-roads.
One driver caught speeding on the M1 in London was doing 163mph!