Scotland has seen the highest drop in car accidents since the pandemic began, research suggests

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VEHICLE accidents on UK roads have fallen by 30% since Covid-19 struck and the UK went into lockdown for the first time.

LeaseLoco submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to UK police authorities, asking for data on vehicle accidents, for the periods March 2019 to February 2020 and March 2020 to February 2021.

The figures revealed that Police Scotland recorded the biggest drop in vehicle accidents, with 45% fewer accidents recorded between March 20 – Feb 21 than March 19 – Feb 20.

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%.

Police - Research News Scotland
Photo by King’s Church International on Unsplash. Police forces were asked to provide the total number of recorded vehicle accidents, fatalities, and serious injuries during these periods.

Across all police forces that responded, road accidents fell between 14% and 45%, as the country was plunged 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.

table - Research News Scotland
This table shows the ten UK police authorities that have seen the biggest drops in car accidents on UK roads during the pandemic.

The number of people killed in vehicle accidents on UK roads during the pandemic fell by 20%.

Three police forces – Kent, Cambridgeshire, and Thames Valley – actually recorded more road fatalities during the pandemic, than the year before Covid-19 struck.

Fatalities on Kent roads increased to 58 in the year since the first lockdown, compared to 40 during the previous 12 months.

car wreck - Research News Scotland
Photo by Niclas Lundin on Unsplash. 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.

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 a little surprising that the decrease 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.”