Drivers caught at “extreme” speeds on empty lockdown roads

Police forces across the country report drivers are exploiting lack of traffic; one motorist caught at 134mph in a 40mph zone

Were it not for the coronavirus lockdown, the prospect of empty roads and fuel prices at record lows would be something of a petrolhead’s dream. But it seems some drivers are taking advantage of unusually low levels of traffic, which have fallen to levels not seen since the 1950s, breaching lockdown rules, and treating roads as racetracks, with police forces across the country catching a number of motorists at “extreme” speeds.

Surrey’s Roads’ Policing Unit reported one driver caught at 130mph on the M25 said “I thought the faster I went, the less chance I could catch coronavirus”, while London’s Metropolitan Police have apprehended a number of drivers at “outrageous” speeds, including one who reached 134mph in a 40mph zone. 

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Detective Superintendent Andy Cox from the Met Police has said officers from his force had stopped two drivers racing at 80mph on a 40mph road, and also confirmed another instance of a driver reaching 142mph. 

Cox told LBC Radio that average speeds in urban 20mph zones had risen to 37mph, and warned such driving wasn’t just putting pedestrians, cyclists, and other road users at risk, telling LBC Radio: “We know that with speed, especially extreme speed, comes increased risk of a serious crash. And potentially, if you're involved in a high-speed collision, you’re going to end up in hospital, and potentially deprive COVID-19 patients of NHS care.” 

It’s not just London’s eerily quiet streets that have seen drivers reach extreme speeds. Police in Surrey reported one driver was caught at 98mph in a 50mph zone, while Greater Manchester Police apprehended one motorists at 128mph, announcing he would be sent to court both for his traffic offence, and for breaching coronavirus legislation; the city’s mayor, Andy Burnham, has said 40 per cent of drivers are breaking speed limits.

American drivers are also reportedly taking advantage of empty lockdown roads, with US police logging a number of extreme speeds. Reports also indicate three anonymous individuals drove an Audi A8L with extra fuel tanks in its boot from the east coast to the west coast of America in 26 hours 38 minutes, breaking the previous unofficial (and equally illegal) record by 47 minutes.

Do you think tougher measures should be enforced for speeding drivers? Let us know in the comments below…

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