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Insight

Senseless road traffic accidents during lockdown put unnecessary pressure on NHS

The Personal Injury team is currently finding new ways to support existing clients recovering from serious injury on the roads, including organising personal rehabilitation packages via online platforms or private inpatient stays where appropriate and generally maintaining regular contact to support those recovering at home who may not be receiving one to one care during COVID lockdown.

This is no mean feat and undoubtedly some clients' rehabilitation will suffer. Clients who have lost limbs, for example, may have to wait longer for prosthetics and will not be able to move into adapted accommodation because of delays in accessing building materials generally and contractors being able to go on site to fit specific safety features. Some much needed therapies and treatments will also be on hold.

Patients from our perspective should be moved out of the NHS system as far as possible to alleviate resources. Private practitioners and NHS staff are clearly doing what they can for injured clients but are severely restricted by resources stretched almost to breaking point as everyone focuses on treating Coronavirus patients. Which makes it all the more worrying to read reports from the Met Police and Greater Manchester Police about the number of road accidents still occurring even when the roads are virtually empty and should therefore be safer for everyone.

More than 6,200 drivers have also been caught breaking the speed limit in the Manchester area since the start of lockdown, that's a 57 per cent increase in the number of vehicles travelling above the speed limit in recent weeks.

There has been a significant increase in speeding offences in London, despite a huge drop in traffic in recent weeks, with one person being caught driving at 151mph. Eight deaths and a number of serious injuries have been recorded in London since the start of lockdown due to speeding and 89 'extreme speeders' have been summoned to court, diverting vital medical resources and putting even more pressure on the courts struggling to adapt to remote hearings.

There is never a good time to put other road users in danger but to put yourself in a position to require emergency medical care at this time and to endanger other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians who may be essential care workers going to and from work or people simply trying to get some much needed exercise is irresponsible beyond words. Just because the roads seem quieter than usual speed restrictions and regulations are there for a reason.

Jennifer Buchanan specialises in road traffic accident claims and cycling accident claims.

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