Drivers and bikers have been flouting the Government’s instruction to stay at home, and speeding on roads left empty by the Covid-19 outbreak – with one motorist clocked doing nearly 130mph.
Kent Police’s road policing unit stopped the driver of a black Audi saloon on the A429 at Sittingbourne on Wednesday, for travelling at the “totally unacceptable” speed.
Other forces reported several incidents, with Greater Manchester Police’s chief constable Ian Hopkins saying there would be “more enforcement” after incidents, including a driver doing 75mph in a 30mph limit.
“Just because the roads are unusually quiet it’s not an excuse to drive like a maniac and put others at risk,” he said.
— Kent Police RPU (@kentpoliceroads) March 25, 2020
North Yorkshire Police’s assistant chief constable Mike Walker said his force had also seen drivers motoring at “highly excessive speeds”.
Urging drivers to stay at home unless making essential journeys, he added they had also been stopped for offences including using their mobile phones at the wheel.
He said: “These actions can have fatal consequences which tie up emergency service and medical resources at a time when they are needed most.
“We have a duty to uphold the law and keep our roads safe for everyone, regardless of the wider situation nationally.”
Mr Walker added: “At the moment the public won’t see a difference in policing in the county other than increased hygiene practices, protective equipment if necessary and other practical measures taken to protect our workforce.
“However, let me be very clear – motorcyclists and drivers should be staying at home unless their journey falls into one of the essential criteria outlined by the Government.”
North Wales Police’s road policing unit, echoing the sentiment, said: “Despite being asked to stay at home, we are still seeing people drive at high speeds on some of our roads – this includes motorcycles too.
“Maybe it’s because there’s less traffic on the roads? Maybe it’s because some are still taking advantage of the good weather?
“There is no excuse. The last thing we need is to deal with a road traffic collision.
“Our NHS colleagues are under extreme pressure. Don’t add to it.”
West Midlands Police’s road patrols had come across at least one driver doing 70mph in a 30mph zone.
In a tweet, officers from the force’s response units said: “Ladies and Gentlemen of this fine county, I’ve had cause to speak to several drivers taking advantage of the quiet roads and going a little too quick.
“70 in a 30 is far too much. Please folks, don’t make more work for the NHS.”
I have been seeing this on the roads since the weekend. I have asked for more enforcement by @gmptraffic. Just because the roads are unusually quiet it's not an excuse to drive like a maniac and put others at risk. https://t.co/NWapygysfo
— Chief Constable Ian Hopkins (@CCIanHopkins) March 25, 2020
It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced sweeping new curbs on life in the UK on Monday, in a bid to tackle the Covid-19 outbreak.
Issuing strict instructions to the British public, he said “you must stay at home”, in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus and reduce pressure on the NHS.
However, Hampshire Police’s road policing team came across “motorcycles out for a pleasure ride” in the Meon Valley on Wednesday.
In a tweet, officers said: “If the Government request wont keep you at home we can still deal with motoring offences.”
On Tuesday, officers with Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire roads team said: “We cannot believe the amount of people still out and about using our roads today.”
Meanwhile, Surrey’s roads policing units said: “Based on the amount of traffic on the M25 currently, lots of people are ignoring the Government requirement to stay at home.”
Before the Prime Minister’s address on Monday, Merseyside Police officers issued a stark warning not to tie up NHS resources, after turning up to a crash where a van driver had failed to wear his seatbelt.
Can people please just stop and think…..the driver of this van is now on his way to hospital to tie up valuable NHS resources all because he didn’t have his seatbelt on……had he, we would be looking at a damage only instead of slight injury #justthink #beltup #NHS pic.twitter.com/8M4lB7BRFA
— Roads Policing Unit (@MerPolTraffic) March 23, 2020
Tweeting a picture of the crumpled van, the Merseyside roads policing team said: “Can people please just stop and think.
“The driver of this van is now on his way to hospital to tie up valuable NHS resources all because he didn’t have his seatbelt on.
“Had he, we would be looking at a damage only instead of slight injury.”