Has lockdown led to improved road safety?

With fewer reasons to travel during 2020, and a resulting reduction in the number of vehicles on the transport network, you would have expected the roads last year to have been the safest on record.

However, last month a report from Ireland’s Road Standards Agency (RSA) highlighted an increase in the number of road deaths in the country, despite lower volumes of traffic.

Assistant Garda Commissioner Paula Hilman commented that during last year’s COVID lockdown, police had witnessed a variety of poor driver behaviour, particularly increases in speeding and drug driving. “These will be of particular focus during 2021,” she said.

Chief Executive of the RSA Sam Waide expanded on the issue saying there was “a changed environment on the roads with a rise in the number of people walking and cycling because of the pandemic.” These, alongside passenger deaths, were the main reasons for the increase in the statistics.

There is a similar situation across the Atlantic where data from the United States reveals an increase in fatalities in rural areas, in vehicles 10 years and older, rollover crashes, single vehicle crashes and young drivers. The only decrease was with road users 65 years or older during the months of March, April and June, which given this was at the height of the pandemic and the risk to this demographic is easily explained.

What can we take from all this data? It seems that quieter roads don’t necessarily lead to fewer accidents. Open motorways with less road traffic, fewer police patrols and risk-averse drivers and the fact that we’re not driving as regularly as we were can all add up, and that’s before you consider the weather conditions.

Winter is always a time to take extra care and we’ve witnessed the twin challenges of wintry conditions and flood warnings that have swept across the UK in recent weeks. Add in to the mix the issues experienced by hauliers trying to cross the Channel, and the resulting pressures on the rest of their journeys, the need for an increased focus on road safety is clear.

This has always been paramount at Checkpoint, and is one of the drivers behind the development of our best practice guide, designed to aid users with the use of our revolutionary wheel nut safety solutions. Our product range has been expertly engineered to improve the safety of all manner of wheels and industrial equipment across a variety of sectors.

To download or best practice guide or learn how we can help you stay safe on the roads, visit our website.

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