Up to 73% of vehicles exceeded speed limit on 30mph roads during first lockdown

This coincided with traffic dropping to around a quarter of normal levels.

A 30mph road sign
A 30mph road sign

Up to seven out of 10 vehicles exceeded the speed limit on 30mph roads during the first coronavirus lockdown, according to new figures.

Department for Transport data shows the proportion of vehicles speeding on those roads reached 73% on April 12, compared with 53% on the same date in 2019.

The figure did not dip below 60% between March 21 and May 25.

This coincided with traffic dropping as much as 77% below pre-pandemic levels.

Once the fall in traffic eased to just 25% below normal in mid-June, the proportion of vehicles speeding on 30mph roads was similar to last year.

Speeding on motorways during the first lockdown peaked at 56% on three days – April 5, 10 and 24 – while on single carriageways with 60mph limits it reached a high of 30% on April 12.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “It is perhaps unsurprising that, as the general level of traffic fell away in the first lockdown, some of those people still driving were tempted by the empty road ahead to flout the speed limit.

“Perhaps the most worrying aspect of these numbers is the increase in speeding in 30mph areas, sometimes by 10mph or more, at the same time as measures were being rolled out to accommodate safer walking and cycling.

“Coping through the Covid crisis and repeated lockdowns has been stressful for all of us, but that’s no excuse for reckless driving.

“As road users we all need to be showing more consideration for each other, not less.”

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