Drivers across Derbyshire are being urged to reduce their speed as larger numbers of cars head out onto the nation’s roads.
As restrictions on movements are eased many people are heading back onto the roads for the first time in many weeks.
During the lockdown period forces across the country saw speeds rise on emptier roads – with some recording extremely high speeds of well over 100mph.
In Derbyshire the roads policing unit, who travel the length and breadth of the county, have continued their work keeping those out on the roads safe.
But as more people head out onto the highway we are asking them to take extra care when it comes to their speed as part of a national campaign.
Chief Inspector Jim Thompson, who leads the roads policing team, said: “Speeding is one of the leading causes of serious and fatal collision in the UK.
“On a far too regular basis officers from our force have to deliver the news no family wants to hear – that their friend or member of their family is never coming home.
“Speeding, put simply, is a choice. Our request to you is to make the right one.
“Those who decide to break the speed limit are putting not only themselves but every other road user in danger.
“Over recent weeks we have seen an explosion in the use of bicycles and more people out walking in our towns and villages – as well as the nearby countryside.
“Many of those out and about are families with young children and we know from many years of road safety advice that the chances of surviving a collision at 30mph are dramatically better than the same collision at 40mph.
“My request, and the request of every single member of the force, is to watch your speed. Drive to the conditions on that particular day and ensure that you are aware of those around you.
“The vast majority of those who are involved in collisions never think it will happen to them but time and time again we see lives wrecked because of one wrong choice – don’t regret a decision that you could so easily have been avoided.”
In phase one from today, forces will be sharing messages across social media and other platforms encouraging the public to slow down and save lives, in addition to normal speed enforcement activity.
Phase two from Monday 25 May will see the forces step up visible speed enforcement activity for the following two weeks, focussing on roads and areas where speeding is known to be an issue or there is a history of serious collisions.
Station Manager Kevin Page from Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The moment you turn the key in the ignition of your car, lorry motorcycle or any other vehicle – the lives of hundreds of people rest in your hands.
“Every other road user will be affected by your decisions behind the wheel – and one of the easiest decisions you can make to keep everyone safe is to obey the speed limit.
“It is a well-worn phrase but the speed limit is there for a reason and it’s primary role is to help keep people safe.
“The last thing any driver wishes to do is kill someone – but by breaking the speed limit you are increasing the likelihood that you could become a killer through one misplaced action.
“Don’t become another statistic on the road – keep to the speed limit.”
Figures show that on average 17 people are killed and 126 are seriously injured every month in the UK, where speeding is believed to have been a significant factor.
At 30mph, vehicles are travelling at 44 feet or about three car lengths each second. Even in good conditions, the difference in stopping distance between 30 mph and 35 mph is an extra 21 feet or 6.4 metres, more than two car lengths, this could make all the difference in avoiding a collision.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Hardyal Dhindsa, said: “During my consultation across the county over the last four years, it became clear that speeding was the top concern for Derbyshire residents. I know that it seriously impacts on the quality of life in our neighbourhoods.
“I listened carefully to the views of residents and funded enforcement action in areas experiencing the worst problems. We evaluated this in terms of operational work and agreed to consider future options which aim to tackle speeding in the long-term.
“Supporting communities which want to reduce speeding on their roads is a top priority for me and I have been working closely with the chief constable to expand the Community Speedwatch programme to a wider area.
“This will allow local people to monitor speeding trends in their area and those caught flouting the speed limits can be re-educated to help improve safety longer term. The speeding initiatives we have supported have been welcomed by our residents, and they send a clear message that speeding is not acceptable in Derbyshire.”