Motorists’ speeds increase on East Riding’s main roads during lockdown

Motorists increased their speeds on the East Riding’s main routes last year as coronavirus lockdown restrictions sparked a drop in traffic levels, figures reveal.

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 10:45 am
Cars and light vans travelled at an average speed of 37.4 mph on ‘A’ roads in the East Riding last year. Photo: PA Images

The RAC says some drivers across the country took advantage of the emptier roads to drive at “dangerous speeds”, including in residential areas.

Department for Transport (DfT) data shows cars and light vans travelled at an average speed of 37.4mph on ‘A’ roads in the East Riding last year.

That was slightly up from 36.4 mph in 2019 – a rise of 3%.

The A63 saw the biggest rise in speeds, up 19% to 44.6mph, followed by the A161, up 10% to 32.3mph.

Across England, the average speed of cars and light vans on ‘A’ roads rose by 8% last year to 27.3mph.

This was caused by a steady increase in speeds following the imposing of Covid-19 stay-at-home restrictions in March last year, the DfT said.

Densely populated areas saw the biggest rise in average speeds – up 13% – compared to a 4% rise on rural roads.

Simon Williams, RAC road safety spokesman, said the impact of the pandemic on the country’s roads was ‘something of a double-edged sword’.

He added: “On the one hand, fewer delays is positive and may well have led to an improvement in overall air quality, but on the flipside, we know that some drivers have taken advantage of quieter roads by driving at dangerous speeds.

“This has been a particular problem on 30mph roads in residential areas.”

Mr Williams said it is important police forces continue to crackdown on excessive speeders and that there are consequences for their “totally unacceptable” actions.

The figures cover only ‘A’ roads, which account for around 10% of England’s highway network but carry around a third of all traffic.

The DfT said the average speed of motorists across the main road network, including motorways, stood at 61.8mph last year – below the speed limits for the majority of roads where vehicles were recorded.

The department also said average speeds and delays are returning to pre-pandemic levels as Covid-19 restrictions continue to be eased.