West Midlands road crash figures high despite lockdown
May. 28, 2020
Roads being used "as a racetrack" while less traffic was on the streets has seen crash numbers remain high during lockdown, a police chief has said.
In the first week of lockdown traffic in the West Midlands and Staffordshire fell by 70%, but accidents by just 10%.
West Midlands police commissioner David Jamieson said some drivers see the clearer roads and drive too fast.
Police have been targeting hotspot areas with one motorist clocked doing 142mph on the M6 Toll near Birmingham.
It comes after the BBC reported that speeding motorists have been travelling at more than double the limit during the coronavirus lockdown.
Image caption Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said some motorists were driving fast due to the clearer roads
Since the first week of restrictions on people's movements the number of accidents across the West Midlands and Staffordshire has fallen. But during April and up until last week the number of crashes was 34% lower than a year ago, despite traffic being 70% below 2019 levels for most of that period.
Police and Crime Commissioner Mr Jamieson said: "What we have noticed is a huge reduction in the number of vehicles on the road but the number of casualties hasn't reduced at the same rate.
"There are still casualties going on, there are crashes, and that's mainly because people perhaps see a clearer road and are going too fast for the circumstances.
"I would say to people stick to the speed limit, stick within the rules of the road and everybody will be safe."
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An operation has targeted 20 roads highlighted as hotspots because of previous collision data and following community concerns, including the A4540 in Hockley, Birmingham, and the Black Country Spine Road near Wolverhampton.
Sgt Jon Butler from the force's road crime prevention team said of 52,000 vehicles passing the speeding stop points between 21 April and 22 May, 842 were found to be committing speeding offences and 127 of the drivers were fined.
He said motorists were receiving roadside advice about risks posed to themselves and others "and the potential strain they are going to put on the NHS if they are involved in a collision".
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