The Thames Valley police force saw a 38% drop in vehicle accidents in the year since the pandemic started.
Between March 2019 and February 2020, 3,572 road accidents were reported by Thames Valley Police in the next 12 months 2,227 incidents were confirmed. That represented a 37.7% drop in road accidents between March 2020 and February 2021.
However, Thames Valley was one of three forces to record more fatalities in this period along with Kent and Cambridgeshire. In Kent fatalities rose from 40 to 58 in the first 12 months since Covid infected the UK.
The only force to record a bigger fall was Scotland Police. Overall, 5,785 accidents were recorded before Covid in Scotland and 3,161 incidents were confirmed in the first 12 months of dealing with the coronavirus, a 45.5% drop.
Across the UK accidents fell by 30% since Covid-19 struck and the country was forced into lockdown in March 2020.
Also, the number of people killed in vehicle accidents has fallen by a fifth during the pandemic, while the number of people seriously injured has dropped by 30%.
The information was obtained by LeaseLoco using a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. The Thames Valley Police came second out of 27 police authorities that responded to the car leasing company, when it came to a decrease in recorded road accidents.
Across all police forces that responded, road accidents fell between 14% and 45%, as the country was placed into lockdown three times from March 20 to Feb 21.
This is not altogether surprising, as the Government told people to work from home and ordered everyone not to travel and stay local. As a result, cars have sat idle on driveways for long periods of time since March 2020 and roads have been quieter.
However, considering the reduced amount of traffic on the roads, reported vehicle accidents haven’t fallen as much as might have been expected, in some police authorities. For example, in Kent and Cleveland, accidents have fallen 15% and 14% respectively, during the pandemic.
John Wilmot, CEO of LeaseLoco, comments: “Since the end of March 2020, the country has been plunged into lockdown three times. During each of those lockdowns, people were asked to stay at home and if they went out to stay local.
“Cars weren’t used and most roads across the country were quieter, which makes it somewhat surprising that the fall in the number of accidents, fatalities and serious injuries on UK roads wasn’t greater.
“The reality is that although roads were quieter during lockdown, as restrictions were eased we saw a surge of traffic on the roads as people were keen to take advantage of their new-found freedom.
“This could have contributed to a spike in accidents and the same could happen again over the summer with millions of people choosing to take their holidays in the UK this year. There is a danger we could see more accidents than normal over the coming months as the roads become clogged with cars.
“We would always advise people to inspect their car before a long journey, and that means checking the tyres, brakes and lights. It’s especially important to carry out a thorough check if your car has been sitting idle more than normal over the past few months.”
The number of people killed in vehicle accidents on UK roads during the pandemic fell by 20%. Durham (67%), Suffolk (60%) and Warwickshire Police (50%) reported significantly fewer fatalities - at least 50% - across the period March 20 to Feb 21, compared to the previous 12 months.
Durham Police recorded the sharpest drop in serious injuries, down 77% for the 12 months since the first lockdown. Leicestershire was the only police force to record more serious injuries between March 20 and Feb 21 vs the preceding 12 months - 269 vs 265.