Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl has described it as among the most irresponsible and anti-social aspects of the coronavirus crisis.
Since the lockdown began, a high proportion of his emails from the public have complained about excessive speeds and reckless driving on the county’s largely deserted roads.
Two people have been killed in separate collisions and the constabulary’s camera enforcement team recently recorded speeds of 104 mph on a road with a 60 mph limit; and 74 mph in a 30 mph limit. Speeds of up to 122 mph have been recorded on the Gloucestershire stretch of the M5.
“Some people seem to think it’s all right to put their foot down”
Mr Surl said: “Speeding and antisocial driving is unacceptable at any time, but when the roads are free of traffic, some people seem to think it’s all right to put their foot down. In the last couple of days for example, we have had speeds of 108 and 104 both of which will lead to court appearances in due course.
“Whilst the Constabulary is deployed on other aspects of the pandemic, enforcement continues with the aim of catching these idiots. The police would be rightly criticised if they did not provide a level of deterrent, especially at these extremes.
“The emergency services are concentrating their efforts on managing the spread of Covid-19, so it’s crucial that we don’t add to their workload through careless and reckless driving.
“I urge road users to consider the strain being put on the NHS during these unprecedented times and to drive considerately”.
Only travel when absolutely essential
Safe and social driving, which aims to reduce offending and anti-social driving in Gloucestershire, has always been one of the PCC’s policing priorities. Now he is adding his support to a new campaign by Road Safety GB, which stresses the importance of taking extra care when making essential journeys.
To reduce the number of road casualties during these unprecedented times, the ‘Take Extra Care’ campaign urges all road users to only travel when absolutely essential.
For those who must, the plea is to do everything to avoid collisions and casualties, including:
- Always drive at an appropriate speed
- Always wear a seatbelt
- Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Never use a mobile phone behind the wheel
Gloucestershire Constabulary is continuing to monitor road safety as usual, alongside running specialist operations to check motorists’ reasons for travel in line with Government restrictions to help stop the spread of Coronavirus.
Over the weekend of Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 April 2020, officers stopped 120 vehicles on major routes across the county.
“We can all play our part”
Alan Kennedy, executive director of Road Safety GB, 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.
“Whether you are a driver, rider, cyclist or pedestrian – we can all play our part over the coming months by only travelling when necessary, and taking extra care on every journey.
“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.”
Cllr Dave Norman, Gloucestershire County Council cabinet member for road safety and the fire and rescue service, said: “We don’t want to add pressure on our already stretched emergency services, who are doing an incredible job in their response to Covid-19, so please remember to drive safely if you’re making an essential journey.
“Although the roads may be quieter at the moment, the importance of taking extra care has never been greater so I would ask motorists to drive considerately and consider the consequences if they do not.”