According to data from the Department for Transport’s speed compliance statistics for January to June 2020, it found evidence of an increase in motorists breaking speed limits from mid-March, just as the lockdown was put in place.
The statistics found that 30mph zones were the most frequently exceeded by drivers, rising to 63 per cent during the lockdown compared to 56 per cent over the same period in 2019.
UK traffic levels during the first restrictions fell to as low as 25 per cent of the normal as people were forced to stay home or walk and cycle more often to get around.
MPs, councils, and police reported a growing number of excessive speeding cases. In June, traffic officers caught eight drivers doing more than 130mph and a Porsche doing 163 mph.
On social media a driver was also pursued by the police after posting a video of his Audi reaching 200mph in Kent.
The speed data is compiled using Automatic Traffic Counters put in place across the country by the department.
Exceeding the speed limit by 10mph went up from 13 per cent to 15 per cent on motorways, one per cent to three per cent on single carriageway roads and six per cent to eight per cent on 30mph roads,
Once the lockdown started to relax, breaking the speed limits returned to normal levels even though there was still much less traffic on the road, as if the speeders were looking out for the Police again.
[Image: Shutterstock, Nov 2020]
AA & RAC concerned by speeding
Head of AA Roads Policy Jack Cousens said the DfT’s published figures were ‘worrying’.
‘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’.
However, Mr Cousens say that despite some high-profile law breakers, UK roads did not turn into racetracks during the lockdown as described by some figures.
‘Early in the lockdown, there were incidents of extreme speed on motorways, main roads and even residential streets, particularly around London, as offenders thought the police would be busy enforcing the lockdown.
‘However, through a series of high-profile “arrests” and social media, the police made it clear they were still on the case and that extreme speeders would be targeted. Additionally, and carrying on through the second lockdown, rural police forces have had to crack down on speeding along quieter country roads and villages.’
RAC’s head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes told ThisisMoney that ‘lower traffic volumes sadly led to some shocking levels of speed limit disobedience, particularly on 30mph limit roads. This is 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.’
As we are into the second lockdown, there is a feeling that we may see a repeat of the speeding behaviour as drivers think the police are busy handling Covid 19 problems. There is an argument to say that in the absence of police, other drivers should make sure they report these speed demons to prevent it becoming a regular occurrence.
Do you think that speeding during lockdowns should be punished more harshly? Would you record and then report someone speeding?
Let us know in the comments below.
Fine and put points on the licence of every single speeder. More cameras needed especially average spread ones.
Also When it’s not fashionable to speed then people won’t do it.
I think this shows that we need to start limiting the top speed of motor vehicles to 90mph. There is no reasonable logic in making it higher, also, acceleration needs curbing.
Won’t be a problem in ten yrs time as the planned WEF Great Reset will remove leasure travel to nil with only authorised essential travel allowed.
These idiots need removing from the roads. Not just points on licence remove licence for a couple of years might make them stop and think.
Doesn’t work. Just borrow someone’s car, drive sensible and you won’t get caught.
if virtually everyone speeds does it mean that the speed limits are not fit for purpose. In my area the newly built A555 dual carriageway has been opened with a speed limit of 50 mph. in places and 70 mph in others both on the same dual carriageway. again stupid highways planners. The M60 how can you be allowed to plan a motorway then put a short stretch with a 50mph speed limit. the motorway was ok with the original 70mph limit till again Hyway planners don’t believe that drivers have any brains to negotiate bends.
Plenty of evidence that they don’t
Also this will be a thing of the past speeding, with the Uk agreeing to sign up to the latest software EU agreement to fit black boxes to all vehicles from 2022.
”Speeding sir I’ll just plug into your black box. Oh sorry sir you weren’t but you were 3 days ago, expect the fine and points in a few days.”
The future never seems to amaze me.!! They could also include a quick read of it when you have an MOT, as the Mot system is linked to the governments computers.
Boom time for computer hacks, no problem mate £50 I’ll wipe the black box or alter it’s data.
There is always a way around any technology in any vehicle. Waste of time doing it.
Absolutely. We live on a 20mph road with clear signage. A significant volume of vehicles drive in excess of 40mph and some in excess of 60moh. The road is quite straight which fuels speeding but there are also lots of primary school children that walk along the road to access the nearby school. Need for unmarked police cars and bans for culprits found to be driving at more than double the speed limit . Sadly somebody will be seriously injured or killed before there is a reaction
Why are the cameras in the photo pointing the wrong way?
To check how fast you are escaping
They’re not. The get you from the rear plate.
They don’t have this problem in Germany where there is no speed limit on rural autobahns, and people drive safely as fast as they wish. Unfortunately my car would only go up to 124mph (200kph), though it did use more fuel!
Yes of course. Let’s target people going a few miles over the limit. They’re easy prey. You can attend raves in lockdown, cause criminal damage to public monuments, deal drugs, etc. and get off scot free. Is it any wonder Plod has lost the trust of joe public and has become the proverbial chocolate teapot?
I’ve just been fines £100 and 3 points for doing 68 mph in a 50mph zone on the dual carriageway on the way to the M66 in West Yorkshire. The first 50 sign I saw was literally on the gantry where the cameras where. No time to slow safely. I’d love to go back and have another look at the signage to see if it is easily seen. I’m really annoyed at having my first speeding points on my licence in 58 years of driving and £100 fine that matters to me on a pension! No appeal, no consideration of my good record! Disgruntled from Shropshire.
Yes! Serve them right for being selfish, stupid & driving dangerously.
Knocked off my bike & taken to hospital by ambulance. Car drivers excuse he didn’t see me even though 6 ft tall & wearing hi-viz
I agree with Graham Conway.
Speed limits aren’t fit for purpose. Its not about safety its about making money. Safety justifies it so were told? Nobody was interested in safety before the introduction of the Gatso. The lower the speed limit the easier it is to break it. Where are all the accidents associated with speeding? Millions of motorist’s caught speeding. Associated accidents None. I’m not condoning speeding but limits are ridiculous.
I.e. The major A road near me has been 40mph since day 1. Now its been reduced to 30mph speed camera van under the bridge, says it all.
There is absolutely no reason to start varying penalties during lockdown or other occasions. The offence is the same. Deploy a small number of motorcycle police on speeding roads and add a regular patrol by unmarked cars and the bad habit would soon cease.
If people didn’t keep reducing the speed limits no one will be speeding .God gave you eyes and ears use them. I don’t need to be mummy cuddled by the state, I use common sense. This is just another moneymaking activity by the government. Perhaps they should give all the money they raise from speeding to the hospitals I wouldn’t mind being caught then.