While everyone else stayed indoors, drivers sped excessively
During April, in the height of UK-lockdown, telematics insurer AX saw the frequency of speeding incidents rise by up to four times the pre-lockdown figures.
While the government made it clear that making unnecessary journeys was punishable with fines and that motorists were only meant to travel for essential shopping, essential work or other crucial matters, some of those that were on the road were making the most of the low amounts of traffic.
With almost no cars on the roads, AX says their data shows that ‘serious’ speeding events saw a sharp increase and occurred every 136 miles on average in April. In comparison, data for February, before lockdown, showed this only occurred every 443 miles on average.
AX defines a ‘serious’ speeding event as follows:
- 38-41 mph in a 20-mph zone
- 51-62 mph in a 30-mph zone
- 64-71 mph in a 40-mph zone
- 80-84 mph in a 50-mph zone
- 96-101 mph in a 60-mph zone
- 105-111mph in a 70-mph zone
So, essentially, this kind of severe speeding happened nearly 4 times as frequently during lockdown than compared to before lockdown.
Interestingly, whilst car drivers were speeding four times as much as usual, van drivers’ speeding only doubled. But who knows, perhaps that’s because all the van drivers were already speeding!
Ordinarily, pre-lockdown data suggests that van drivers engage in more ‘major’ speeding events as defined by AX than cars, and the opposite is true for the more severe ‘serious’ speeding events, likely due to vans being larger, slower and less powerful.
Whilst ‘serious’ speeding events increased by nearly four times the normal amount, less-severe speeding marked as ‘major’ speeding events also saw a sharp increase. Marked by travelling around 42-47 mph in a 30-mph zone or travelling 91-97 mph in a 70-mph zone, these ‘major’ events saw an increase from occurring every 94 miles on average, to occurring once every 32 miles.
These ‘major’ speeding events didn’t occur more just because people were making shorter journeys either, according to AX’s data, which shows that this type of speeding occurred once every 4.3 trips on average, compared to just once every 9.8 trips back in February.
Director of Investigative Services at AX, Neil Thomas, has this to say:
“It’s fascinating to see how driver behaviour has been influenced by the impacts of COVID-19…Whether it was simply down to reduced traffic levels during lockdown or perhaps drivers assuming police forces had bigger priorities, the data shows that given the opportunity, many drivers are clearly willing to speed and quite often significantly so.”
“It goes without saying that excessive speed is detrimental to everyone’s safety, but it poses an additional problem for fleet managers who have a responsibility for the safety of their drivers and vehicles.”
“Alerting drivers to the fitment of a telematics system, such as a class leading product from AX Innovation, is one of the most effective ways of drastically clamping down on speeding and such systems could be needed now more than ever with the possibility of a second lockdown still on the horizon.”
Why do you think people were speeding more? Let us know in the comments!
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