When the UK government announced its first lockdown measures back in March, traffic levels on the roads plummeted to levels not seen since the 1950s as most people heeded the instruction to stay home and not travel unless absolutely necessary; for work or essential shopping.
Since then, analysis of date from TomTom and the RAC shows that the number of vehicles has begun to slowly creep back up and, now that the government is beginning to ease the lockdown in England, this is expected to continue.
But, even with the roads quieter than usual, are they actually safer?
In the first month of the lockdown, Greater Manchester Police had caught more than 6,200 drivers breaking the speed limit in the Manchester area; an increase of 57%.
In London, at least eight people have sadly died and a number have been seriously injured since the beginning of lockdown as a result of accidents involving speeding vehicles.
Police Scotland also reported a high number of speeding offences particularly over the Easter Weekend as well as drink or drug driving offences too.
Careless motorists aren’t just putting themselves and other drivers at risk of injury or death, but pedestrians and cyclists too. With the public being encouraged to take in outdoor exercise daily, more people are walking or cycling along the same roads used by motorists.
This has also become a risk for motorists who are adhering to the speed limits who have seen a greater number of hazards caused by inexperienced cyclists joining them on the roads on weekdays as well as weekends.
Now that the public are being advised to travel to work (where the work cannot be done from home), and avoid public transport where possible, most commuting will now be done by car, bike, or on foot. This will undoubtedly change the types of accidents we are seeing as those who would usually take the bus, train, or tram to work could now opt to cycle or walk instead.
Until we see the full statistics, which will no doubt be released over the coming months, it is impossible to say for sure whether we are safer on the roads when there is less traffic. However, with more vulnerable road users on the roads now (pedestrians and cyclists), it is likely that we will see an increase in accidents that result in serious and life-changing injuries.
Farleys Solicitors has a large team of personal injury specialists who are available to discuss making a claim for compensation following a road traffic accident. We have a proven track record of claiming damages needed for rehabilitation and treatment of injuries. Contact the team today on 0845 287 0939 or send your enquiry by email.