February 2021 News Roundup

Hello again readers! We’ve reached the end of another month, and that means it’s time for a news roundup! As we look back on February, we’ll focus on the new roadmap out of lockdown before moving onto the investigation into smart motorways. We’ll then round things off by looking into the Coventry mobility credits trial and the news that speeding is less acceptable than five years ago.

What does the ‘roadmap out of lockdown’ mean for drivers?

Electronic sign with the message "AVOID TRAVEL STAY AT HOME BEAT COVID-19"
Image source: Brian Wangenheim (via Unsplash)

For almost a year, COVID-19 has resulted in severe restrictions on drivers. With the government having announced a ‘roadmap out of lockdown‘, there’s hope that that could soon change. But what will the impact on drivers be?

Let’s start with step one. From March 29th, the rule of six will come back into force. You will therefore be able to drive to nearby spots to socialise outdoors.

April 12th is one of the most important dates on the calendar. This is the earliest date when holiday lettings will reopen, meaning that UK trips are back on. It’s also the provisional date when driving tests could restart.

Indoor socialising with other households will return on May 17th at the earliest. As you probably know, the earliest possible date for the complete removal of lockdown restrictions is June 21st.

As we move further along the roadmap, and as new information comes out, we’ll keep you updated right here on the blog.

Transport Committee investigates scrapping smart motorways

Photo © Bill Boaden (cc-by-sa/4.0)

Smart motorways have been controversial since their inception, with safety campaigners highlighting the risks posed by using the hard shoulder as a running lane. Now, the Transport Committee is investigating whether to scrap the scheme altogether.

The move comes after Sheffield coroner David Urpeth said in January that stretches of smart motorway such as that found on the M1 present an “ongoing risk of future deaths”. It’s thought that 14 people died on smart motorways in 2019.

Despite this, the chairman of the committee, Conservative MP Huw Merriman, noted that the motorways actually had lower fatal casualty rates than those with hard shoulders, and questioned whether a better approach would be enhanced safety measures, an awareness campaign, or a complete rethink. We’ll keep an eye on this story as it develops.

Coventry trial sees drivers receive up to £3,000 to give up cars

Image source: Georgi Kyurpanov (via Unsplash)

As governments begin to take tougher action to prevent climate change, the impact of motoring on global emissions has come into focus. One part of the equation to help tackle the issue is to manufacture greener vehicles. Another, however, is to encourage drivers to stop driving polluting cars.

One innovative solution to the problem has been put forth by Coventry City Council, which is trialling a new Mobility Credits scheme. This will see residents with older cars that emit more pollution offered credits in exchange for their vehicle. They can then use these credits to pay for public transport and other alternative means of transport.

It’s hoped that the credits, with a value of up to £3,000, could help motorists to reduce their dependence on cars. It remains to be seen if the trial will result in a wider-scale adoption of the system.

Motorway speeding less socially acceptable

The UK national speed limit sign on a country road
Photo © Richard Webb (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Motorists are less likely to consider speeding acceptable than they were five years ago, according to a report from IAM RoadSmart. The findings came as part of the road safety charity’s Safety Culture Report, which monitors attitudes over time.

The report found that, of 2,000 respondents, 43% believed that driving at up to 80 mph was acceptable on a motorway, while 23% thought that driving above 80 mph was acceptable. These represent decreases on the respective figures of 55% and 28% from 2016.

Despite the improvements, the director of IAM RoadSmart described the results as “deeply concerning” and evidence that more work needed to be done to educate drivers of the risks of speeding. For more details, visit our tips to help you stop speeding.

That completes this month’s news roundup! Don’t forget to check back regularly for all the latest news, including how many tests were cancelled because of COVID-19. Be sure to subscribe to notifications for all the latest from the PassMeFast Blog.

By Andy Boardman

Andy has been part of the PassMeFast Blog team from the very beginning. He'll provide you with plenty of useful motoring advice, helping you to get the most out of every trip. When he's not writing here, you're most likely to find Andy on the way to his next destination.

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