Police forces across Britain have highlighted the extent to which excess speeding was a prevalent issue during the early part of Covid-19 lockdown.
Data analysed by the RAC shows 20 of the 30 police forces who responded to the Freedom of Information (FOI) request caught their worst offenders at speeds in excess of 100mph during the first three weeks of lockdown.
The worst offender during that period was caught in West Yorkshire driving at 151mph on the M62 motorway – a shocking 81mph over the speed limit. This was 11mph faster than the next fastest recorded which was 140mph on the A14 in Suffolk.
Eight forces – The Met, Northamptonshire, Gwent, Staffordshire, Kent, Suffolk, West Yorkshire and Humberside – all caught motorists driving at speeds in excess of 130mph and two others – Police Scotland and Lancashire – recorded drivers at speeds over 120mph.
The highest speed seen in a 40mph limit was 134mph – 94mph above the limit – recorded by the Met on the A10 in North London. Derbyshire Constabulary also caught a driver going at 108mph on the M1 – 68mph above the speed limit.
The only other force whose highest speed was in a 40mph limit was Bedfordshire – here the driver was clocked at 104mph on Airport Way in Luton.
The RAC says some of the speeds recorded by police forces are ‘truly shocking’.
Simon Williams, RAC road safety spokesman, said: “At such high speeds there is virtually no time to react should anything unexpected happen in front such as a car changing lanes at the last second or a vehicle having to brake suddenly.
“Clearly, some drivers have taken advantage of quieter roads to speed excessively putting the lives of others at risk at the worst possible time, but at the same time it’s encouraging that so many police forces have taken firm action even during the lockdown, which sends a strong message to other would-be offenders.
“While the most of the highest speeds recorded were on motorways, some occurred on roads with much lower speed limits, which is an even greater concern. The figures for speeding offences on 30mph roads are particularly worrying as far more people have been walking and cycling due to the lockdown.
“As some schools and nurseries in England begin to open their doors from this week there will be even more pedestrians on the roads so we urge every driver to obey the speed limit and keep all road users safe.”