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Road traffic injuries may become more severe as a result of excessive speed due to a reduced number of vehicles travelling during the ongoing restrictions on movement.
Dam Campsall of road safety consultant Agilysis told a webinar that reduced flows and less congestion could lead to increased speeds and “therefore we might see a slightly higher proportion of crashes involving a higher severity of injury”.
But he added that lower casualty counts overall are likely due to the restrictions on travel in the UK and many other countries.
Latest data from the Government shows that transport use is down by more than 60% for all motor vehicles compared to the middle of March.
Elsewhere, the charity Road Safety GB is urging all road users to take extra care during the Coronavirus pandemic in order to reduce the strain on emergency services. Its executive director Alan Kennedy said: “These are unprecedented times and society as a whole has a responsibility to ease the strain currently being placed on the NHS – and all emergency services, who are already working so hard on our behalf.
“Our key message – as is always the case – reduce speeds, wear a seatbelt, drive sober and alert, and stop your vehicle to use a mobile phone.”
IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research Neil Greig supports the campaign. He added: “It’s crucial that we all maintain our driving and riding standards when making essential journeys. It’s just one way we can show our support for our fantastic frontline workers and do our bit.”
On twitter, the Metropolitan Police detective superintendent Andy Cox appealed directly to road users in the capital to slow down. Since the restrictions on movement came into force there has been “some exceptionally high speed driving”, with one motorist caught doing 134mph in a 40mph zone.
More generally, he added, speeds in 20mph zones have recently been averaging 37mph, representing a risk to many key workers who are cycling or walking.
“Speed is the biggest cause of fatal collisions in London, but at the moment this is especially poignant,” he said. “Fatal or serious collisions require the use of the NHS, fire and police who are all especially busy because of Covid-19. Those involved in serious collisions are likely to end up in hospital, depriving our NHS of precious resource medical care and potentially medical beds.
“I urge you to drive safely, lawfully and respect at this precious moment our NHS, police and fire services.”
(Photograph: IAM Roadsmart)