Anti-social and speeding drivers face a police crackdown during the coronavirus crisis, a chief inspector warned today.
Several incidents have been reported since the coronavirus lockdown started and, with fewer cars on the road, bad drivers may even stand out more.
Sussex Police asked drivers to stay off the road unless their journey was essential.
The force said: “Sussex Police is urging everyone to avoid unnecessary journeys in the fight against coronavirus.
“Motorists flouting the government’s restrictions on non-essential travel, especially during the fine weather, are putting added strain on emergency services.
“There have been several incidents of anti-social driving reported by the public in recent weeks, despite there being fewer vehicles on our roads.
“The restrictions on movement under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) England Regulations 2020 have been put in place specifically to reduce all unnecessary travel and the associated risks on the roads.
“This is to minimise demand and pressure on the emergency services, including the National Health Service, so that resources can be focused on combating coronavirus and saving lives.”
Chief Inspector Michael Hodder, of the Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said: “We are hugely appreciative of the majority of people who are staying at home and avoiding unnecessary trips out of home.
“We’ve seen a dramatic reduction in the number of vehicles on our roads since the travel restrictions were introduced, which shows that people are taking government advice on board.
“However, even with less traffic on the roads, we continue to receive reports of vehicles travelling in excess of the speed limit.
“While the volume of traffic on our roads may have changed in recent weeks, the law on roads policing hasn’t, and we’ll continue to crackdown on criminals in order to keep everyone as safe as possible on our roads.
“I can’t emphasise enough the need to be aware of the ‘fatal four’ offences – speeding, drink and drug driving, mobile phone use and not wearing a seatbelt.
“Year after year, these are the four most common causes of fatal and serious injury collisions in the UK.
“It’s more important now than ever – when hospitals are already stretched to their limits – that people take responsibility and do not increase the burden on the NHS or other emergency services.
“So please take note. Stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”
Sussex Police added: “Under government regulations, you should only leave the house for very limited purposes
- shopping for basic necessities, for example, food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
- one form of exercise a day, for example, a run, walk or cycle – alone or with members of your household
- any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
- travelling for work purposes but only where you cannot work from home
“Police will continue to engage with members of the public and explain the importance of following the government guidance to protect public health and the NHS.
“If faced with non-compliance officers will, if necessary and proportionate, follow up with enforcement action as set out in the new legislation.”