Road safety

Speeding drivers caught at beginning of lockdown

Speeding during the first three weeks of lockdown appears to have been less extreme in the North East than in other parts of Britain, figures obtained by a Freedom of Information request reveal.

Two-thirds of Britain's forces caught people driving faster than 100mph in 70mph areas - and some cases 40mph areas.

The RAC motoring organisation has obtained police data showing the highest speed was clocked at 151mph on the M62 motorway in West Yorkshire.

Spokesman Simon Williams described the speeds as "truly shocking" and said some drivers had "taken advantage of quieter roads to speed excessively, putting the lives of others at risk at the worst possible time".

The highest speed recorded by both Cleveland Police and Northumbria Police during the period was 86mph in a 70mph area. Durham Constabulary recorded 44mph in a 30mph zone.

Speed camera
Speeding driver on M6 Toll clocked at 142mph
Staffordshire Police pulled over the driver after filming him on a patrol car dashcam.

Drivers urged to slow speed as more walk

Drivers are being urged to curb their speed as coronavirus measures have led to more people walking on the roads.

Campaign group Road Safety GB North East (RSGB NE) said since the North East went into lockdown 10 days ago, there had been a notable shift in both driver and pedestrian behaviour on the region’s roads.

The group said research since lockdown began on the evening of 23 March shows there is less than half the normal amount of traffic on weekdays, and only a third on weekends (down 67%), with larger reductions on local roads.

Car on country road
Getty Images

However, traffic speeds have increased on most roads, with many seeing average speeds around 5mph higher than normal. The data shows that some people are sticking to the speed limit, but there are more extreme speeds being recorded, which is pulling the average up.

Paul Watson, RSGB NE Chairman, said: “As the lockdown has resulted in most people working from home and only going out once a day to exercise, there has been an increase in people walking, running and cycling around their local areas. In order to give other pedestrians a wide berth, many are walking on the roads, or crossing over frequently, in order to social distance and ensure they are at least 2m from anyone else.

“If vehicles are passing at speed, it makes for a dangerous combination. Unless people take care, it’s only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or killed.”