ROADS policing officers have made a plea to speeding motorists exploiting Barnsley’s quiet roads to slow down - and warned more patrols are being deployed to allay concerns.

As people are being urged to only travel for essential reasons, many are seeing the emptier roads as an opportunity to speed, putting lives at risk, according to South Yorkshire Police.

The warning comes after a crash on Common Road, Brierley, on Tuesday afternoon which took place on the same bend as a fatal collision two years ago when a speeding HGV struck pedestrian Jacqueline Wileman.

Inspector Jason Booth said: “Since members of the public were advised to stay at home, we have already seen numerous serious collisions and road accidents in which we believe speed was a factor.

“Not only are these drivers putting themselves and other road users at risk, but should their behaviour result in an accident, they are also tying up police and NHS resources.

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“I am urging motorists to drive safely and allow us to be available to help those in need and focus on or fight against coronavirus.”

It comes after a survey of more than 2,000 residents revealed speeding was the issue people wanted police to tackle the most, followed by drivers who use their mobile phones while behind the wheel and those who use antisocial, illegal vehicles such as off-road bikes, particularly in residential zones.

The bid to clamp down on the issue will result in extra patrols being carried out in a bid to snare drivers, according to bosses behind the scheme.

Insp Booth added: “We want to tackle the issues that mean the most to our communities alongside our day-to-day work of disrupting and denying criminals the use of our road network.

“Since we have been gathering views, we have implemented a dedicated traffic car that patrols identified hotspot areas, carried out regular operations in partnership with the DVSA and partners and also held our first Operation Duxford, which focused on speeding.

“We are working hard to tackle their concerns and make local roads safer.”

Complaints have been received by the police that not enough is being done to combat long-running speeding concerns, but more presence is being promised.

“We carry out regular patrols and operations to tackle various driving offences and will continue to do so, as one life taken is one too many,” Insp Booth said.

“The speed limits are there for a reason, no matter how many cars or vehicles are on the road.

“The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.”

Joanne Wehrle, manager of South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership, said the organisation would continue to relay important updates about road use via social media.

“We know most people are following the very clear government advice to stay at home and we thank you for doing so,” she added.

“Our team will continue to issue updates about things like MOT extensions and mobile safety camera locations to try and keep everyone informed.

“But the main thing we can all do now is follow the guidance to stay at home and only make essential journeys.”