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UK News Ministers must 'seize the opportunity' to force pubs to close car parks as lockdown eases to discourage drink driving, says star motoring lawyer

13:31  23 june  2020
13:31  23 june  2020 Source:   thisismoney.co.uk

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The Government should 'seize the opportunity to curb drink driving' by forcing pubs to close off their car parks as lockdown eases, a star road traffic lawyer has urged.

Bars and pubs should be told to seal off their parking facilities and use the space to provide more outdoor seating if they are given the green light to open on 4 July, says Nick Freeman - who has been dubbed 'Mr Loophole' for getting a string of celebrities of driving charges.

He said the move would not only help provide extra space for social distancing and increase capacity for businesses to serve more punters, but discourage drinkers from driving to and from the pub.

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Under the nationwide lockdown , motor traffic congestion has dropped by 30-75%, and air pollution with it. Marco Granelli, a deputy mayor of Milan, said : “We worked for years to reduce car use. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take a fresh look at your streets and make sure that they are set to

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a car parked on the side of the street: 'Close pub car parks to curb post-lockdown drink driving': Celebrity road traffic lawyer, Mr Loophole, says the government should tell landlords to seal off their car parks when they're allowed to reopen on 4 July © Provided by This Is Money 'Close pub car parks to curb post-lockdown drink driving': Celebrity road traffic lawyer, Mr Loophole, says the government should tell landlords to seal off their car parks when they're allowed to reopen on 4 July

'The reopening of bars and pubs is a welcome move for both the public and the economy,' according to the 63 year-old lawyer, whose A-list clients include David Beckham, Paddy McGuiness and Jeremy Clarkson.

'But inevitably there may well be those who – by default or design – get behind the wheel after having one too many. '

He added: 'The closing of pub car parks is a very visible sign that drinking and driving don`t go together.

'In fact the Government could use this opportunity to launch an anti-drink-drive campaign, citing the fact that pubs are open but car parks are closed.'

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'The insurance company lawyers weren't interested. Even though I had taken pictures of all the damage to the side of my car 's bodywork as well as But when I spoke to the lawyer appointed by my car insurance, he said the best outcome I could get would be a 50/50 settlement — they couldn't do

While Mr Freeman’s idea would send a message on drink driving, it would also impact those driven by someone else who stays sober and seriously hamper country pubs, many of which rely on customers travelling some distance and have reshaped their businesses around food.

Mr Freeman said that ministers could recommend to landlords to provide additional social-distancing availability, which also use it as a 'strategic and powerful opportunity' to remind people to leave the car at home.

A decision on reopening hospitality businesses such as bars, pubs, cinemas, museums and hairdressers on 4 July is expected to be rubber-stamped by Prime Minister Boris Johnson today, along with new rules for one-metre social distancing.

It has been estimated that as many as one million hotel, pub and restaurant jobs could be saved if the two-metre social distancing limit is halved to allow for extra business.

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Michael Bran said the force “don't get his support on this one”, while Wes Channell replied: “ Must The car can be used by named drivers for non-work-related driving only - it's often termed as social, domestic and pleasure use. Car insurers told to refund drivers unable to use vehicles in lockdown .

And capacity could be increased if car parks are commandeered as a place for tables and chairs.

a car parked in front of a house: Independence Day...for pubs: Businesses are expected to be allowed to reopen their doors from 4 July, with the two-metre social distancing rules halved if extra measures are in place © Provided by This Is Money Independence Day...for pubs: Businesses are expected to be allowed to reopen their doors from 4 July, with the two-metre social distancing rules halved if extra measures are in place

'We need to make people feel a little more uncomfortable about bringing their car to the pub,' Freeman told This is Money.

Nick Freeman wearing a suit and tie: Closing pub car parks post-lockdown would be a 'strategic and powerful opportunity' to remind people to leave the car at home, says motoring lawyer, Nick Freeman (pictured) © Provided by This Is Money Closing pub car parks post-lockdown would be a 'strategic and powerful opportunity' to remind people to leave the car at home, says motoring lawyer, Nick Freeman (pictured)

'Closed car parks will be a visible reminder of that whilst having the double whammy effect of helping pubs boost capacity and revive their battered revenue.

'It has to be a win-win situation.'

While the lockdown has seen traffic levels plummet by as much as 80 per cent at the start of April, bad habits behind the wheel have far from disappeared.

High profile speeding offences rose as daredevil motorists took advantage of deserted roads.

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In motoring terms, isn’t this something of a handbrake turn? One can see why parking might be singled Quite apart from the injudicious application of profit-hungry market forces to the stewardship of There is a simple truth, and ministers know it: we have too many cars , and drive them too much.

Easing the lockdown means greater opportunity to drive . With ministers advising against public transport, driving in a self-contained car is With fuel pumps being handled throughout the pandemic, there are concerns amongst the motoring community about the safety of return to petrol stations in

Footage of motorists using motorways as their personal race tracks emerged during lockdown, with one driver filming himself at the wheel of an Audi RS6 Avant clocking a staggering 201mph on the M23 in West Sussex.

Police forces earlier this month revealed the worst cases of recorded speeding in their areas, with two in three responding to an FOI request confirming that they had caught at least one driver at speeds in excess of 100mph since the lockdown was put in place on 23 March.

WORST LOCKDOWN SPEEDING CASES FOR EACH POLICE FORCE
Police Force Highest recorded speed detected Limit of road where recorded Mph over speed limit Stretch of road Time of day
West Yorkshire Police 151 70 81 M62 21:55
Suffolk Constabulary 140 70 70 A14 Not provided
Northamptonshire Police 138 70 68 M1 J17-J16 21:11
Gwent Police 136 70 66 M4 J23a-J24 Not provided
Staffordshire Police 135 70 65 Not provided Not provided
Kent Police 132 70 62 M20 16:00-17:00
Humberside Police 130 70 60 M60 J35 11:43
Police Scotland 128 70 58 A77 Southbound btwn Monkton & Sandyford 13:56
Metropolitan Police 125 70 55 M1 Gateway Morning
Lancashire Constabulary 120 70 50 M6 J35-J33 & M65 05:30 & 21:30
Merseyside Police 115 70 45 M6 Southbound J24-23 15:21
North Wales Police 111 70 41 A55 12:46
Norfolk Constabulary 110 70 40 A11 Not provided
Derbyshire Constabulary 108 40 68 M1 (N) 20:33
West Midlands Police 108 70 38 M5 J3-J4 Not provided
South Wales Police 108 50 58 M4 - Port Talbot 23:51
Gloucestershire Constabulary 106 70 36 M5 08:00 & 12:00
Bedfordshire Constabulary 104 40 64 Airport Way Luton 10:02
Devon & Cornwall Police 101 70 31 A38 Haldon Hill 14:00-18:00
Hampshire Constabulary 101 70 31 A331 18:28
Cheshire Constabulary 95 70 25 M56 & M6 - 5 vehicles 5 vehicles
West Mercia Police 92 60 32 M5 J5-J6 05:07
Cumbria Constabulary 89 60 29 A590 Morning
South Yorkshire Police 88 60 28 A616 (T) East past A629 Exit Barnsley Not provided
Dyfed-Powys Police 88 60 28 A483 - Belan 12:26pm
Cleveland Police 86 70 16 A19 16:25
Northumbria Police 86 70 16 A1 Felton by Pass Midday
Dorset Police 73 50 23 A31 St Leonards 10:00-11:00
Leicestershire Police 58 50 8 A47 Uppingham Road, Billesdon 09:07
Durham Constabulary 44 30 14 Watling Street, Consett 11:52
Source: FOI issued to all police forces in England, Scotland and Wales. All are speeding offences caught between 23 March and 13 April 2020. Missing police forces failed to respond to the RAC's FOI request

But Mr Loophole claims it isn't just speeding offences that are likely to have become more common over the last three months.

Drink driving has remained an issue during lockdown, despite bars and restaurants being shut, he believes - and that some of it may be unintentional the morning after.

Home drinking has reportedly doubled to 100 million pints of beer a week while people have been told to restrict their socialising.

This could mean that many have been jumping into their cars to join early morning supermarket queues for essential supplies, potentially unaware of alcohol in their system from the night before.

A survey last month by the RAC found that some five per cent of drivers admitted to taking their car out specifically to buy alcohol during lockdown.

This comes after Government statistics at the end of last year revealed an increase in drink-drive related deaths in Britain which were now at an eight-year high.

Pubs, restaurants and hairdressers in Leicester may remain closed, says mayor .
The city has recorded 866 new cases of coronavirus in the last two weeks – leading to speculation that it will be locked downSir Peter Soulsby heavily criticised the Government over its handling of the situation in the city, saying he needs to “be convinced” that an extension to lockdown is necessary.

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