Drivers committed three times as many “serious” speeding events in April compared to pre-lockdown levels, with “major” speeding incidents also three times more likely at one every 32 miles, compared to one every 94 miles in February, according to data from fleet management company AX.
According to the firm, car drivers were the main culprits at four times the normal number of speeding incidents, while the figure was twice as many as normal for van drivers, with AX putting the behaviour down to light traffic in normally congested areas.
But as lockdown eased and traffic levels rose again, driver behaviour improved, with June showing a halving of all types of speeding incident versus April.
AX defines a major or level two speeding event as 42-47mph in a 30 limit, rising to 91-97mph in a 70 zone, while a level four serious speeding event is over 50mph in a 30 zone, rising to in excess of 104mph in a 70 limit.
According to Department for Transport statistics, car traffic levels dropped to as low as a third of February levels during April, and by the beginning of August had risen to over 80% of what would have been expected pre-pandemic. Light commercial vehicle traffic was down to around 40% at the height of lockdown, and is now back to pre-pandemic traffic.
“Whether it was simply down to reduced traffic levels during lockdown or perhaps drivers assuming police forces had bigger priorities, the data shows that given the opportunity, many drivers are clearly willing to speed and quite often significantly so,” said Neil Thomas, director of Investigative Services at AX. “It goes without saying that excessive speed is detrimental to everyone’s safety, but it poses an additional problem for fleet managers who have a responsibility for the safety of their drivers and vehicles.”