Analysis by Vision Zero South West – the partnership tasked with making Devon and Cornwall’s roads safer - shows that traffic across Devon has reduced by between 30-40% since the new lockdown started on November 5.
In the first lockdown in March there was a more substantial reduction in traffic on our roads, but this also resulted in an increase in speeding and little or no change to the number of road traffic collisions.
Transport safety analysts Agilysis found that during the first lockdown, traffic flows across the UK reduced by between 58% and 64%. But on 60mph roads they also noted “vast increases” in the number of drivers travelling more than 15mph over the speed limit – a trend which was also recognised across Devon and Cornwall.
The number of crashes in which people were killed or seriously injured remained roughly similar to the previous year. However, evidence from other force areas suggests that while the number of crashes may have fallen during the first lockdown, the higher speeds meant that injuries suffered by those who did have collisions were more serious.
With the UK’s second lockdown now in full swing, Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, says she does not want to see this trend repeated.
Commissioner Hernandez said: “While this second lockdown is not quite as stringent as the first, we are already seeing substantially fewer vehicles out and about compared to ‘normal’ times - but that mustn’t be seen as an excuse to treat our roads as a racetrack.
“In the last lockdown we still saw too many serious and fatal crashes on our roads, the impacts of which are devastating for everyone involved.
“I know there is a temptation to drive faster when there are no other vehicles around, but rest assured police officers will be out on our road networks keeping a keen eye out for anyone driving too fast or dangerously.”
Commissioner Hernandez has also expressed concern about an increase in under qualified delivery drivers on our roads.
It’s understood that some online stores have recently recruited many more delivery drivers to help meet the demands of the second lockdown, while many high street shops are closed.
Commissioner Hernandez said: “I am concerned that these newly hired drivers are not adequately qualified, INSURED or prepared to be travelling as much as they are. We have had reports of delivery drivers speeding in residential areas and travelling in vehicles which appear to be unroadworthy.
“As I have said, our officers will remain vigilant on the roads at this time, so I would urge anyone using the roads of Devon and Cornwall to be mindful and do so safely to protect everyone during this difficult time.”