Road traffic hits highest level since coronavirus lockdown began

29 April 2020, 18:19

London traffic at 0732 on Monday on the A4 near Earl's Court
London traffic at 0732 on Monday on the A4 near Earl's Court. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Road traffic rose to its highest level since lockdown began on Monday in a move described as “slightly worrying” by one health chief.

Data published by the Government shows that the number of vehicles was 56% lower than in early February, but up three percentage points compared with the previous Monday.

It was the highest working day use since March 23.

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Public Health England medical director Dr Yvonne Doyle described the rise as "slightly worrying."

Her comments came as it was confirmed the UK is on track to have the worst coronavirus death toll of any country in Europe, with the total number of lives lost passing 26,000.

Car use rose to its highest level since March 23 on Monday
Car use rose to its highest level since March 23 on Monday. Picture: Cabinet Office

She said: "There has been an uptick in motor vehicles, and the message here really is that we are still passing through this peak.

"This use of motor vehicles is the highest working day use since March 23.

"We really have to be vigilant. Most people are making huge efforts to stay at home and save lives.

"This is slightly worrying, so please do stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives. Go out for the necessities."

Use of trains and buses remains flat, at more than 95 per cent below the first week of February.

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RAC Insurance spokesman Simon Williams said: "Analysis of hundreds of thousands of RAC Insurance black box trips confirms the number of vehicles on the UK's roads is rising.

"With the lockdown still very much in force, it remains the case that none of us should be driving unless it's for an essential trip.

"The fact we are now several weeks into the lockdown must not be used as an excuse to change our behaviour and venture out unnecessarily - our data seems to suggest some people may be finding more reasons to be on the road than earlier in April."

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