One person was killed and 18 seriously hurt on Leicestershire’s roads during the first few weeks of lockdown and various other local authorities have reported several cases of excessive speeding.
The Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Road Safety Partnership said traffic levels had fallen to more than half since lockdown but that that fall had not been matched by an equivalent decline in serious casualties and deaths.
The safety partnership’s spokesman Jonathan Clarkson said: “In recent weeks we have seen our traffic levels dropping by an average of over 60 per cent. Despite this, we have still tragically seen 19 people killed or seriously injured on our roads between March 23 and April 23. At normal traffic levels, the five-year average for this same calendar month is 26. Police colleagues were surprised at the number of people who were still killed or seriously injured despite the fact that there was such a reduced volume of traffic on the roads.”
Derbyshire Police are asking drivers to take extra care when it comes to their speed as part of a national campaign.
Chief Inspector Jim Thompson, who leads the roads policing team, said: “Speeding is one of the leading causes of serious and fatal collision in the UK. On a far too regular basis officers from our force have to deliver the news no family wants to hear that their friend or member of their family is never coming home. Speeding, put simply, is a choice. Our request to you is to make the right one
“Those who decide to break the speed limit are putting not only themselves but every other road user in danger. Over recent weeks we have seen an explosion in the use of bicycles and more people out walking in our towns and villages, as well as the nearby countryside. Many of those out and about are families with young children and we know from many years of road safety advice that the chances of surviving a collision at 30mph are dramatically better than the same collision at 40mph.
“My request, and the request of every single member of the force, is to watch your speed. Drive to the conditions on that particular day and ensure that you are aware of those around you.
“The vast majority of those who are involved in collisions never think it will happen to them but time and time again we see lives wrecked because of one wrong choice, don’t regret a decision that you could so easily have been avoided.”
In phase one of the campaign, forces will be sharing messages across social media and other platforms encouraging the public to slow down and save lives, in addition to normal speed enforcement activity.
Phase two which starts on Monday, May 25, will see the forces step up visible speed enforcement activity for the following two weeks, focussing on roads and areas where speeding is known to be an issue or there is a history of serious collisions.
Police forces in Wales and Go Safe Cymru have teamed up for a speed enforcement campaign after seeing a rise in the number of speeding cars since lockdown began.
Since lockdown was introduced a number of motorists have been caught travelling at high speeds as a 50% reduction in traffic leaves the roads much quieter. One driver was caught travelling at 140mph.
Meanwhile, the road safety partnership that covers Plymouth has said mobile speed cameras will be back on the roads this week.
The Peninsula Road Safety Partnership, which is made up of the regions councils and police forces, as well as road safety campaign groups, have been concerned about reports showing that speeds increased across the whole of Devon and Cornwall in recent weeks as a result of reduced levels of traffic on the road.
In response, the partnership has underscored their message of thinking twice and taking extra care before getting into your car. A spokesperson for the partnership said: “We are starting to get ready to go back to more typical journeys so we are looking at what has changed and how we might get back to work safely and protect the NHS from unnecessary strain.”