‘Dangerous and socially irresponsible’: Eight London road deaths since start of lockdown amid speeding warning from police

Police forces have warned drivers about speeding during the UK's coronavirus lockdown as eight road deaths were reported in London since the introduction of social distancing measures.

More than 6,200 drivers have also been caught breaking the speed limit in the Manchester area since the start of lockdown in March, according to police.

Greater Manchester Police said they had seen an increase of 57 per cent of vehicles travelling above the speed limit in recent weeks.

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In London, people who drive at excessive speeds have been warned they will face "strong enforcement action" from the Metropolitan Police.

Eight deaths and a number of serious injuries have been recorded in the capital since the start of lockdown due to speeding and a total of 89 "extreme speeders" have been summoned to court.

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Officers have seen a significant increase in speeding offences in London, despite a major drop in traffic in recent weeks, with one person being caught driving at 151mph.

Average speeds across all roads have increased in recent weeks, with some roads seeing an average speed of more than 50 per cent above the speed limit, according to the Met Police.

"Traffic volume in London has fallen by around 60 per cent in recent weeks and the vast majority of Londoners have heeded government advice to stay at home," Commander Kyle Gordon, from the Met Police, said.

"Unfortunately, some individuals have sought to exploit the quieter roads and used this opportunity to drive at excessive speed.

"Driving at this speed we have detected is dangerous and socially irresponsible at this time."

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He added that road traffic accidents put an "unnecessary strain" on the NHS and other emergency services during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Superintendent Julie Ellison, from GMP's Specialist Operations Team, said some offenders were using quieter roads like "their own personal racetrack" and warned road safety was "of paramount importance" at all times.

"In this current climate, keeping the pressure off our emergency services is so important whilst they keep the public safe and well," Ms Ellison said.

"If someone is speeding and they have a collision, this will take up vital resources including NHS, fire and the police."

Last week, Police Scotland reminded motorists of the importance of being safe on roads after a number of people were detected for high level speeding offences and drink or drug driving offences over the Easter weekend.

Department for Transport data has shown motor vehicle use in the UK has fallen by two-thirds over the past month, with a marked decline after the UK went into lockdown on 23 March.

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