Speeding Drivers Risking Lives Adding Pressure on NHS

Author:
Simon Stanfield
Partner, Head of Road Traffic Accidents
Date:
27/04/2020

As the lockdown continues, our Road Traffic Accident Solicitors are working from home and continue to deal with the consequences of severe road accidents each day, and many of the cases we handle can be heartbreaking.

So it’s very concerning to hear that at this time of lockdown, so many drivers remain willing to put themselves and others at risk of life changing injuries.

The lockdown has led to the number of people driving falling drastically over the last month, but police forces across the UK have reported a surge in the number of people flouting the rules and breaking speed limits.

For instance, Greater Manchester Police last week reported that it has caught more than 6,200 speeding drivers since the lockdown began on March 23rd. This included one driver who was doing 115mph on a 40mph road, and another going down the M62 at 129mph.

But even during a nationwide lockdown, the roads aren’t empty. Key workers are trying to get to work and people are out for their daily walks and exercise. And of course, each speeding driver could be putting themselves and others at risk, adding to the staggering pressure the emergency services are already under.

People across the UK have been told to avoid unnecessary travel for as long as the lockdown continues to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. So the question must be asked about how many of these speeding drivers are making essential trips?

Of course, we can’t know for sure. But the fact that so many are speeding is undeniably presenting a risk to the drivers themselves, other road users and pedestrians, and the emergency services personnel who have to deal with road accident injuries.

Speeding drivers are running the risk of having to spend extended periods in a healthcare environment, many of which are under huge pressure dealing with Covid-19 patients.

And of course, if you end up in hospital for any reason, not just for Covid-19, the current lockdown restrictions mean you can’t have visitors.

The impact on the emergency services can extend well beyond dealing with the accident itself. When just one person injured in a road accident tests positive for Covid-19, then each and every one of the emergency services staff at the scene would have to self-isolate.

That would take vital resource away from the NHS and other vital services at a time when we’re all relying on them to help us through a national emergency.

Superintendent Julie Ellison, of Greater Manchester Police’s Specialist Operations Team, has strongly criticised offenders, warning that speeding can have “devastating consequences”.

“Not only does it increase the risk of collisions occurring, it can affect the severity of those that do take place, and in the worst case scenario can be fatal,” she said.

“In this current climate, keeping the pressure off our emergency services is so important whilst they keep the public safe and well. If someone is speeding and they have a collision, this will take up vital resources including NHS, fire and the police.”

Simon Stanfield, Partner and Head of Road Traffic Accidents at Simpson Millar added, “Even though the roads are quieter, speeding, as always, is very dangerous and not acceptable.

“Speed limits are exactly that - limits, not targets - and drivers should always keep within speed limits. Every road crash puts a significant strain on an already stretched NHS during these extraordinary times.

“Please stay at home, but if you are required to drive for an essential journey, please keep within the speed limits.”

Simpson Millar are currently helping to raise funds to provide computer tablets for patients in isolated Covid-19 hospital wards, so they can keep in touch with their loved ones. For more information, visit our JustGiving page.

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