As you may be aware, Pedal® comes with 20 extremely useful and innovative features designed to help you quickly and accurately get to know everything that there is to know about your car. In the current age of public health crises and global pandemics, perhaps the most urgent feature to get to grips with as a user of Pedal® is the detailed COVID-19 tracker.
The UK’s response to the pandemic, whatever you think of it, has resulted in a tiered system of restrictions, lockdowns and other measures. Travelling between different tiers is already not allowed, and can result in heavy fines for those caught doing so. It may seem harsh, but given the way the disease spreads and the need to protect public health and relieve strain on public health services, it’s a necessary move.
The COVID-19 tracker on your Pedal® Dashboard helps you know all the most up-to-date information on which areas are in what tier of restrictions, as well as the numbers of cases and deaths in each region of the country.
Pedal® COVID-19 Tracker
How Does it Work?
The Pedal® vehicle sensor plugs easily into your cars OBD-II port, which is typically located under the driver’s side of your dashboard. Once plugged in and synced to your smartphone, it will start providing all kinds of information on your car in real time. Knowing your car’s registration information and location, the system is also able to offer you the most relevant data on current COVID-19 restrictions in your local area and beyond.
As the vaccine starts to roll out, the hopeful end of the pandemic and the need for lockdowns and other restrictions will hopefully quickly fall away. With vaccinations needed in two doses, however, each of them 3-10 weeks apart, the likelihood is that we will have to continue our lives in the tiers for at least several more months.
Open up your Pedal® dashboard and you’ll find the most up-to-date data on your region of the country, as well as the current situation in each council authority area according to number of new daily cases. The darker the colour, the more serious the situation there currently.
Why is This an Important Feature?
You might not have put a lot of thought into just what could happen if you were to break the COVID-19 restrictions put in place since the outbreak began and grew deadly serious in the UK. Even now, many remain unaware of the many powers held by police and authorities during these extraordinary times. The fact is that while the fight against COVID-19 continues, many things that were once legal are currently restricted. Breaking the rules, even unintentionally, can result in some pretty serious consequences, so it’s important to understand these rules and then be aware of the COVID-19 situation in your local area. The latter is covered by the Pedal® online service, so let us help you with the first part.
Breaking COVID-19 Restrictions
According to information published on the BBC website, the bodies responsible for enforcing COVID-19 restrictions include the police, as well as councils up and down the country, environmental health officers, and trading standards officers. Since March 2020, 32,00 fixed penalty notices (they’re a bit like speeding tickets) have already been issued to people in England and Wales alone.
Residents of England and Northern Ireland are subject to the strictest fines, starting at a steep £200. Given the seriousness of the situation, you might think it’s justified to fine so much, but when you factor in the recent economic downturn and the fact that many people in England and Northern Ireland are either unemployed or underemployed currently because of the pandemic, a sudden £200 loss would be significant.
If you’re in Wales or Scotland, the punishment is less severe, starting at just £60, and it is then reduced to £30 if you pay it within 28 days. There’s nothing to say that these rates couldn’t change, however, and so residents of these areas must remain on their guard at all times.
The really steep fines come in when you’re caught in large gatherings of 30 people or more. Such gatherings can result in fines of as much as £10,000, which for many even at the best of times is an almost life-changing sum of money.
As many will be aware, “tier 4” is the highest level of lockdown restriction and thus results in the most serious measures taken if and when rules are broken. When a region is in tier 4, you have to remain at home unless you have what is called a “reasonable excuse” to be outside. This could be shopping for essential goods, to use a business that remains open, to go to work, to do outdoor exercise, and so on.
In tier 4, the above-mentioned fines apply, but can be quickly doubled leading up to £6,400 for repeat offenders.
By late December 2020, there started talk among experts of the need for even stricter measures than those in place in the current tier 4 restrictions. Such measures would include a much wider lockdown with outdoor activity even more greatly curbed, schools closed, and a resumption of total shielding of the most vulnerable groups, meaning many elderly and infirm will have almost no contact with others.
Fortunately, such measures have not yet been put in place and the government has refused to confirm (or rule out) the need for them as mutant strains of COVID-19 prove even more contagious than the original strain. In such times, a tracker of the now 5-level tier system would be a crucial instrument to have in your car.
Traveling Between Tiers
The COVID-19 tracker will help you understand which areas around you are in which level of alert according to their number of new daily cases. If you and a neighbouring authority area are within tier 1, for instance, then there are no restrictions on travel, but you would just have to wear a face covering while traveling between.
If somewhere you thought of going has entered a higher tier level, however, then you are likely going to have to follow certain restrictions if you need to travel there. Given that the data is changing daily, and spikes in cases have been somewhat unpredictable around the country, it’s good to know exactly what’s going on in all the areas around you and beyond.
The COVID-19 Outbreak in the UK
It’s sad to say that the UK has been among the worst-affected countries by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has the highest number of recorded coronavirus deaths in the world, behind only the United States and Brazil. While it’s fair to say that just looking at numbers of dead doesn’t give a full picture of what’s going on, it is still a very disturbing fact. Within Europe, only the experiences of Italy, Belgium and Spain can really compare to that of the UK.
When you analyse excess deaths in these countries, you see that Italy has had the most deaths above the normal rate, while Spain has the highest percentage of deaths above normal. Still, however, the UK has experienced the most deaths per million people, which is just as disturbing and unsettling.
Many blame the high death toll on government inaction, but there are many factors at play within the UK and other European countries that also help account for differences. The government was slow to act in the beginning, which overall has probably contributed the most to the country failing to keep up with preventing the spread. On top of that, however, the United Kingdom also has a very dense and fluid population compared to countries like Denmark, for instance.
Conclusion: Tracking COVID-19 Has Never Mattered More
One piece of good news that emerged from the UK during the COVID-19 health crisis has been the country’s capacity to develop its own vaccine, which has been very successfully implemented so far. As that vaccine and others from Pfizer and Moderna continue to roll out, numbers of new cases each day continue to tumble. That being said, this is no time to lose sight of reality.
Your Pedal® COVID-19 tracker will keep you up to date on every region of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland: how many cases there are, how many deaths there have been, and by extension how safe or restricted you might be travelling there. A big part of helping to ease the crisis in the UK is knowing where the serious situations are and avoiding them to contain the spread. Make Pedal® a part of your daily solution.