Big increase in the number of high-speed drivers during the London blockade

There was a 71% increase in drivers caught at high speed in London when the coronavirus blockade began, new figures show.

The Met Police issued 3,282 Traffic Infringement Reports to drivers suspected of exceeding the limit in April, compared with 1,922 in April 2019.

Another 14,736 people were captured by London cameras in April 2020

But a request for freedom of information found that many forces in the UK saw a decrease in speed as traffic slowed.

Kent Police and Derbyshire Constabulary also recorded annual increases in incidents on the rise, 53% and 41% respectively, according to data obtained by the PA news agency.

But most of the forces that provided data recorded a general drop, amid a drop in traffic of about two-thirds, when people were urged to stay home.

Thirteen forces saw an increase in the speed of the fastest captured pilots, including in Dyfed-Powys, North Yorkshire, Police Scotland and West Mercia.

Speeding car
Source: BBC

Drivers who receive a report of traffic violations for speeding can be sent on an educational course, fined or summoned to appear in court, depending on the severity of the case.

Metropolitan Police Detective Sup Cox Andy Cox said many drivers caught at high speed in the first few weeks of blockade did not expect police to patrol nearly deserted roads.

“In the beginning, for some people who drive at extreme speeds, they would be really surprised to see us there,” he said.

“They really said ‘we thought you were busy dealing with Covid’.

“Maybe some people [tried to take advantage] because the congestion was less and they thought they would get away with it.”

Speeding car
Source: BBC

The highest speeds recorded during the London blockade were:

  • 163mph on a 70mph road
  • 134 mph on a 40 mph road
  • 110 mph on a 30 mph road
  • 73 mph on a 20 mph road

Trackers across the capital showed that average speeds on many roads were over the limit.

Det Supt Cox said he wanted speed to be seen “as socially unacceptable” as drinking and driving.

“I see more fatal and life-changing collisions with speed than with the direction of drinking,” he said.

“I think that social awareness needs to change around to address the issue of speeding, because there is not enough social condemnation for someone who is accelerating.”

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