Will Britain’s Roads Be Safer After Lockdown?
Unless you are a keyworker or have a job where you couldn’t work from home, driving has been a restricted indulgence lately.
In the last three months, the longest most of us have driven is few miles our local supermarket for our click and collect.
With the easing of restrictions on the horizon, and the nation reaching for its car keys again, what has changed? and are we safe?
There are three areas of concern to look out for – speeding, driver distraction and the state of our cars.
New data is showing an increase in incidents despite a reduction in miles driven.
Throughout the UK, police forces have seen drivers reaching excessive speeds.
Greater Manchester Police said it has caught 6,200 drivers breaking the speed limit in the first month of lockdown.
It reported a 57% increase in vehicles travelling above the speed limit, with other forces reporting similar problems.
One driver was recorded at 115mph on a 40mph road in Greater Manchester.
Scottish police reported a man was recorded travelling at more than 130mph on the A90 between Peterhead and Ellon, Aberdeenshire.
On April 12, a driver was stopped in Sudbury, Suffolk, travelling at 80mph in a 30mph limit with no insurance and no driving licence.
Police in Wales, meanwhile, have seen speeds of :
- 114mph in a 70mph limit on the A55 in Rhuallt Hill
- 105mph in a 60mph limit on the A5 in Halton, Wrexham
- 104mph in a 70mph limit on the A48 in Pensarn, Carmarthen
Data from a leading Telematics provider showed that:
- average monthly speeding events rose from 53.09 to 64.62 per vehicle, an increase of 22%
- overall incidents increasing by 2.6% despite a 22.6% reduction in the number of miles driven
- the distance between speeding events dropped from one every 30.7 miles to one every 23.15 miles, a decrease of 25%
However, there was a decrease in:
- harsh braking (32%)
- harsh turning (23%)
- excessive accelerating (13%)
As previously mentioned, a lot of us will be out of practice behind the wheel. The small driving excursions we’ve been taking involved near empty roads. The break from regular motoring has heightened concerns that it will make drivers complacent and distracted.
In a recent online road safety seminar –
Chris Spinks, managing director of Westcotec, said:
“There will be a lot of people who haven’t been driving for weeks. We have all come to rely on digital technology taking the place of most face-to-face contact. That’s why we are concerned that this will become a new norm and that too many drivers will ignore the distraction risks of using their devices when they get back behind the wheel.”
Neil Worth, road safety officer at GEM, added:
“We tend to be over-optimistic about our level of driving skill, at the same time as telling ourselves that bad things happen to other people – and that can be a lethal combination. That’s why we are urging everyone – on every journey – to take personal responsibility for safety, banish distractions and focus solely on the task of driving.”
In March, the Department for Transport announced that all cars with an MOT after March 30 would be granted an automatic six-month extension to their test.
The policy is due to remain in place until March 2021.
This means that more than one million unroadworthy cars could return to the roads in coming weeks.
Research by Kwik Fit shows that analysis of fail rates in its own records and DVLA data indicates an estimated 1.096m of the cars granted an extension would have failed the MOT with dangerous or major faults had they undergone an MOT.
Cambrian Fuel Card Services offers a range of fuel cards and telematics solutions to help your drivers operate safely and without distraction.
To find out more about our fuel cards go to www.cambriancards.com/fuel-cards
To find out more about our telematics devices go to www.cambriancards.com/telematics