As UK doctors call for lower speed limits to reduce the pressure on health services, London's top traffic cop has gone online to plead for slower driving and to highlight examples of criminal behaviour by drivers taking advantage of clearer roads to flagrantly breach speed limits.
Detective Superintendent Andy Cox serves with the Met's Roads and Transport Policing Command and is London's police lead for the Vision Zero road danger reduction campaign. He has been responsible for increased police action against "boy racers" using the A10, A12 and A13 as race tracks. In a recent video on Twitter he speaks emotionally about the unnecessary strain on the NHS brought about by hospitalisations caused by collisions.
Drivers, we are out there, every single day... I urge you to respect, at this precious moment, our NHS, police and fire service.
Addressing London drivers directly, he mentions a speed of 134mph in a 40mph zone and average speeds in 20mph zones of 37mph - when these zones are used by key workers on bikes or on foot. He says that speeding is the biggest cause of fatal collisions in London - and fatal collisions require heavy use of NHS, fire brigade police resources. Drivers causing serious collisions could be depriving a Coronavirus patient of a hospital bed.
With some very high speeds in #London increasing risk of fatal & serious crashes which would add pressure to the #NHS #Police #Fire causing potential knock on impact to #Covid19 patients. I have recorded a message appealing direct to drivers to slow down, drive safely & lawfully. pic.twitter.com/dJyTMWzBhs— Andy Cox (@SuptAndyCox) March 26, 2020
In last 24hrs @MPSRTPC #TrafficCops enforced utterly outrageous speeds. Including:— Andy Cox (@SuptAndyCox) March 26, 2020
➖134mph in 40 (#A10)
➖100mph in 70 (#A13)
➖ 76mph in 50 (#A12)
Greatly increased risk of serious crash effecting #NHS & #Police resource + hospital space & care. #Covid19 #CoronaVirusUK #London pic.twitter.com/WvM5Q1lg0U
A 20mph speed limit to "lower the baseline NHS curve"
In a letter sent to the Times on 22nd March Dr Robert Hughes (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) and 109 others wrote:
“..each month there are nearly 3,000 road traffic collision-related admissions to NHS hospitals in England alone. Lowering and enforcing speed limits would reduce the frequency and severity of road traffic collisions.”
In a British Medical Journal blog on 24 March addressing ways to reduce pressure on the NHS Dr Sunil Bhopal and four other experts wrote:
“First, we suggest an immediate reduction in motor vehicle speed limits. In England alone there are around 35,000 non-fatal admissions to hospital every year related to road traffic accidents; more than one in 10 of these are serious and likely to require intensive support, including anaesthesia and surgery. Evidence from around the world shows that lowering speed limits can lead to major reductions in injuries. In Canada, for example, lowering the speed limit from 40km/h to 30km/h was associated with a 28% decrease in pedestrian-motor vehicle collisions and a 67% decrease in major and fatal injuries.
"This measure would be particularly important in supporting those who follow government advice and avoid non-essential use of public transport in order to maintain social distancing. We therefore suggest that the government urgently explore an emergency reduction of all national speed limits to 50mph, and to 20mph in urban areas.”
20mph is coming... We can either do it now or do it later. But if we do it now, the NHS gets that slowdown bonus.
A new video by Rod King of the 20's Plenty campaign echoes the doctors' plea.