Empty roads in Europe, the USA and Australia have seen a rise in the number of drivers caught travelling at excessively high speeds, according to police and highway patrol units.
State police across Australia have reported recording speeds as high as 192km/h as motorists take advantage of reduced traffic amid coronavirus restrictions, while traffic authorities in the US and Europe say average speeds have more than doubled in some areas.
Over the Easter long weekend, NSW Police reported higher instances of speeding and drink driving, saying "many motorists [were] caught travelling in excess of 45km over the speed limit", including one motorcyclist travelling 192km/h in a 80km/h zone.
“I am not sure where people are speeding to if they have been advised to stay inside unless travel is essential," Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander, Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy said.
Meanwhile, Victoria Police said it had detected 3610 speeding offences over the Easter break, including a Sydney man allegedly travelling at 174km/h in an 80km/h zone in Wodonga and a 21-year-old allegedly travelling at 169km/h in a 100km/h zone.
In South Australia, police recorded 504 motorists speeding over the Easter break, including one driver clocked travelling 146km/h in a 100km/h zone.
In the US, police in densely populated areas such as Los Angeles, Washington and New York have said a decline in traffic has given way to a rise in speeding.
This week, California Highway Patrol's Westminster arm said its officers had issued 356 citations for speed in a single morning – 14 of which were for speeds in excess of 100 mph (160km/h).
A Reuters report cited data from transportation analytics firm INRIX, which found the average number of vehicle miles travelled in the US fell across the board in April, but the average speed on highways and expressways in the five largest metropolitan areas increased by as much as 75 per cent compared to January and February.
New York City transport officials also said the number of speed camera tickets issued had risen by 60 per cent in March, compared with the same time last year, despite a 90 per cent fall in traffic in Manhattan, Reuters reported.
In the United Kingdom, London officials said they caught 26 "extreme speeders" over the Easter weekend – including one offender travelling 151mph (243km/h) – with average speeds on some roads nearly doubling.
Extreme speeds this wkend in #London. Many enforced including 97mph (40) on #A10. This driver reached 151mph on #M1 before decamping car & evading ?♂️ on foot. We will do upmost to identify & take action. Anyhow no doubt will come to our attention again? before he hurts somebody! pic.twitter.com/SyGV1aS3l5— Andy Cox (@SuptAndyCox) April 13, 2020
Elsewhere, in Greater Manchester, police said 1145 motorists were caught speeding in the first week of April, with one motorist caught hitting 129mph (207km/h).
"Unfortunately, [some] people using our roads are now treating them as a race track," Ian Hopkins, chief constable of Greater Manchester, said, according to the BBC.
"It's not acceptable... it's putting people's lives at risk and we will be doing much more enforcement."
Similarly, police in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia told Reuters about 30 per cent of all vehicles exceeded speed limits in March - compared to roughly 5-8 per cent in a regular year.
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