Huge drop in car crashes as drivers stay home amid coronavirus lockdown

The number of car crashes across the West Midlands dropped by 65 per cent as people stayed at home amid the coronavirus lockdown

West Midlands Police revealed there were 163 reported injuries from road traffic collisions in March, when the UK went into quarantine.

This is 34.5 per cent of the average number of accidents recorded in the month of March between 2016 and last year – 472.

This means significantly fewer people have suffered injuries such as fractures, lacerations, sprains and whiplash.

There were three deaths from accidents in March – the same number as March last year, and only slightly lower than the average between 2016 and 2019 of 4.25.

Out of the accidents in March this year, 68 were in the Birmingham west policing area compared to just 10 in Birmingham east.

There were 23 accidents in Sandwell, 18 in Walsall, 15 in Wolverhampton, 11 in Coventry, nine in Dudley and six in Solihull.

The figures were released by the police force in response to a freedom of information request.

The FOI response includes the type of injuries sustained in each accident for the majority of years covered, but the force was not able to find all details without going over the appropriate costs limit.

It has been reported traffic around the UK has fallen between 60 and 80 per cent since the lock down began on March 23.

Lloyd House the West Midlands Police headquarters in Birmingham

The West Midlands police and crime commissioner David Jamieson said: “Reducing collisions and deaths on our roads is a top priority for myself and West Midlands Police. We are fortunate that we have seen deaths on the roads fall in recent years.

“Having less vehicles on the road inevitably means there will be fewer collisions but it should not be an encouragement for drivers to take their eye off the road and become distracted. The roads can still be dangerous.

“We’re doing proactive work to tackle speeding motorists taking advantage of the quieter roads during the lock down. It is no excuse to use the roads as a race track and those endangering the lives of others will have swift action taken against them.

“For when the lockdown is lifted, motorists need to ensure that they continue to abide by the rules of the road and be safe so as to keep themselves, pedestrians and other road users safe.”

Councillor Waseem Zaffar, Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for transport and environment said: “These statistics are reflective of the fact that less traffic means less accidents.

“It’s a strong indicator that our transport plans, through the Clean Air Zone and the draft Birmingham Transport Plan, to reallocate road space away from private cars, will help to improve road safety as well as air quality.

“We also remain committed to 20mph as the default speed limit for all residential streets and local centres.”

The news was welcomed by Neil Greig, director of policy and research at road safety charity IAM RoadSmart which aims to improve car and motorcycle standards and enhance road safety.

He said: “I think it’s very good news. It’s not unexpected. If traffic is down, you would expect crashes to be down as well.

“It highlights that the vast majority of people are driving safely. But it highlights a minority of people who continue to speed and have crashes.

“Ideally the number of accidents would be zero. The excessive speed issue is a worry, there’s no doubt about that.

“Police need to keep up their road traffic policing efforts. In an ideal world, they could have forgotten about this for a time.”

Report by Mark Cardwell

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