Public Need Their Cars

Research finds public need their cars, as the government begins preparing business to get back to work.

Mobility is an essential factor in getting through life in lockdown, according to the RAC, after research it conducted in April among its members found that many drivers need their vehicles for essential journeys.

The research found that 75% use their car for food shopping, nearly 30% needed a car to get to pharmacies, and nearly 20% had to drive to provide care to a vulnerable person. 20% said they use a car to get to work because they can’t do their job at home.

Kirsty McKno, chair of the CHO, said that while fewer people were using their car on a daily basis, the findings underline that “mobility remains essential for millions of people in carrying out important tasks during the lockdown period.”

“We are pleased that by and large, the public are respecting the government guidelines for driving, and it is important that they continue to observe the rules about staying at home, but they shouldn’t feel under any pressure to avoid using a replacement vehicle for mobility purposes if their own car is being repaired after an accident.”

Kirsty said that the government’s guidelines on what appropriate car use included the need to exercise. “As long as the public observe social distancing requirements, it is fine for them to get in their car and find somewhere to go for a walk, or exercise.”

She said that the Crown Prosecution guidelines for police forces, a copy of which is on the CHO website, are very clear as to what is and is not acceptable behaviour for the public with regard to using their vehicles during the current lockdown period.

“People must follow the government’s advice, and leave their car at home unless they need to use it for work, exercise, shopping, visiting vulnerable people and so forth. People have a right to mobility but we urge them to use their rights sensibly.”

The UK government is currently mulling plans to ease the lockdown period, now into its seventh week, which may see more people take to the roads again as the country slowly gets back to work. The Times reports that the government will encourage people to go to work by bike, and working hours may be staggered to avoid rush hour on public transport.

Draft advice has been prepared for businesses to assist with back to work planning, with measures including:

  • Only people who cannot work from home to be asked to go to the workplace
  • More parking spaces and cycle tracks to be provided
  • Sharing or hot desks to be stopped or reduced.
  • Shifts staggered to reduce contact at work
  • Hand sanitisers and screens to be provided for staff
  • Meeting rooms to be ventilated and used only when necessary
  • Workplaces should be cleaned more regularly

The media is speculating that the government has pencilled in 26 May as the date to start encouraging the UK back to work.