Slow down to save lives, urge
UK police forces

21.05.2020

The annual national police speeding campaign kicked off across the UK this week, and this year the message to drive within the speed limit is being shouted louder than ever.

With the gradual relaxing of lockdown restrictions, police forces are taking part in the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) speed enforcement operation to remind motorists to drive safely and not to exceed the posted limits.

The operation is deliberately timed as travel restrictions start to ease, to keep people safe as the volume of traffic increases.

During lockdown, forces across the UK reported a rise in high-speed offences on quieter roads, with a vehicle recorded at 163mph on the M1 London.

As a result, forces and safer roads partnerships have been reminding motorists to take extra care on the roads during the COVID-19 pandemic, to avoid a collision and to ease the burden on the already overstretched NHS.

In phase one of this operation, forces are sharing messages across social media and other platforms encouraging the public to slow down and save lives, in addition to normal speed enforcement activity.

In phase two, from May 25, forces will step up visible speed enforcement activity for the following two weeks, focusing on roads and areas where speeding is known to be an issue or there is a history of serious collisions.

Chief Constable Anthony Bangham, Roads Policing Lead for NPCC, said: “With the gradual move out of lockdown and with traffic volumes starting to increase, this national operation is an important way of highlighting the dangers of speeding, particularly when so many people have not been out on the roads for quite some time.

“Unsurprisingly, the lockdown saw very quiet roads. Many forces reported increased speeding in a general sense and some forces reported instances of very excessive speeding.

"It is also of particular note that we have seen an increase in pedal cyclists at this time, many of whom may be unfamiliar with busier roads. Pedestrians and runners have also got used to empty roads.

“Put this together with better weather, lighter evenings, motorcyclists itching to ride out across our country roads and you have the concerning combination of factors for a significant increase in people being killed or seriously injured. I am determined for this not to be the case.”

Motorists are being reminded of the devastating impact that speeding can have, not only increasing the risk of a collision but the severity of the impact at higher speeds.

Figures show that on average 17 people are killed and 126 are seriously injured every month in the UK, where speeding is believed to have been a significant factor.

At 30mph, vehicles are travelling at 44 feet or about 3 car lengths each second. Even in good conditions, the difference in stopping distance between 30 mph and 35 mph is an extra 21 feet or 6.4 metres, more than 2 car lengths, this could make all the difference in avoiding a collision. The distance required to stop safely, significantly increased at higher speeds.

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