Surge in Speeding Drivers in London During Lockdown
Surge in Speeding Drivers in London During Lockdown.
A surge in speeding drivers in London during lockdown with one culprit caught doing 73mph on 20mph road. There was a 71 percent spike in the number of drivers caught speeding in London when the coronavirus lockdown started, new figures show.
Metropolitan Police officers issued 3,282 Traffic Offence Reports (TORs) to drivers suspected of exceeding the limit during April, according to data obtained through a Freedom of Information request.
The data, obtained by the PA news agency, revealed a huge jump this year in TORs compared with the 1,922 issued in April 2019 and also revealed a further 14,736 speedsters were caught by London’s roadside cameras.
Drivers who receive a TOR for speeding are sent on an educational course, fined or summoned to appear in court, depending on the severity of the case.
Elsewhere in Britain, Kent Police and Derbyshire Police also recorded year-on-year rises in speeding incidents, up 53 percent and 41 percent respectively.
The majority of forces recorded an overall decrease, however, amid a drop in traffic of around two-thirds as people were urged to stay at home as part of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions rolled out by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
But 13 of those force areas did see an increase in the speed of the fastest driver caught, including Dyfed-Powys, North Yorkshire, Police Scotland and West Mercia.
Detective Superintendent Andy Cox of the Metropolitan Police explained that many drivers caught speeding during the early weeks of lockdown did not expect officers to be patrolling near-deserted roads.
He said: “Because of COVID and the demands upon the emergency services at that time, I think there might have been a consideration to remove some assets and deploy elsewhere. But we didn’t do that in London.
“Early on, for some people driving at extreme speeds, they would be really surprised to see us there. They would actually come out and say ‘we thought you’d be busy dealing with Covid’. Maybe some people (tried to take) advantage because congestion was less and thought they’d get away with it.”
The highest speeds recorded per zone during the lockdown in London were:
> 163mph on a 70mph road;
> 134mph on a 40mph road;
> 110mph on a 30mph road;
> 73mph on a 20mph road.
Trackers based around the capital showed that even average speeds on many roads were above the limit.
Mr Cox explained that the Met identified “a particular issue” with speeding on 20mph and 30mph roads, putting vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists at risk. “The most frequent factor for a fatal or life-changing injury crash is the speed of the vehicle,” he said. “You can potentially deprive COVID patients of NHS care. Dealing with a very serious collision is a significant obstruction in terms of resources and time.”
Mr Cox added that he wants speeding to be seen “as socially unacceptable” as drink-driving. He claimed many people who would stop a driver from getting behind the wheel after drinking too much would not challenge someone over their speed.
“They haven’t quite worked out that a speeding driver is arguably more dangerous,” Mr Cox said. “I see more fatal and more life-changing collisions through speed than I do through drink driving. I think the social conscience needs to change around it to actually address the issue of speeding because there’s not sufficient social condemnation of someone speeding.”