More than half of drivers speed in 30mph zones

Thursday, 10th September 2020, 1:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th September 2020, 1:02 pm

British drivers are more likely to break the speed limit in a 30mph zone than on any other type of road, government data shows.

Traffic analysis by the Department for Transport shows that more than half of all cars (54 per cent) exceeded the 30mph limit during free-flowing conditions last year, more than in any other speed limit zone.

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In comparison, 50 per cent of cars on motorways and just nine per cent on 60mph roads were found to be breaking the speed limit.

On 30mph roads - which are usually found in built-up areas - one in five cars exceeded the limit by more than 5mph, while six per cent were recorded at 40mph or more. The average speed in a 30mph zone, however, was 31mph.

Half of car drivers were found to speed on motorways (Photo: Shutterstock)

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Motorbikes were even more likely to break the limit, with 63 per cent exceeding the 30mph limit.

The data also showed that 86 per cent of cars sped in 20mph zones but the DfT said that the figure should be “interpreted with additional caution” due to the often atypical arrangement of roads in such zones. These roads tend to be in quieter residential areas, as well as around schools, and often have traffic calming measures which mean they are not “free-flowing”, so the free-flowing test sites won’t be representative of 20mph zones in general.

RAC road safety spokesman Simon Williams said the “alarming” statistics highlighted the need for the Government to review its road policy strategy.

He commented: “These statistics are alarming. We know that during the days of strict lockdown there was a real prevalence of speeding in built-up areas.

“Breaking speed limits is illegal and puts everyone using the road in danger. It’s vital the Government’s review into road policing addresses the elephant in the room – a lack of enforcement.”

Road Safety Minister Baroness Vere said: “Speeding is illegal, reckless and puts people’s lives at unnecessary risk. That is why there are tough penalties and strict enforcement measures in place for those who disobey the law.

“We know it’s just as crucial though to change attitudes that lead to dangerous driving.

“Our road safety statement and its two-year action plan include aims to tackle speeding, while our Think! campaign targets risky driving behaviour by challenging social norms among high-risk young men.”

Peter Brabin, Head of Training at Bill Plant Driving School, commented: “Driving over the speed limit, even by a few miles per hour, really isn’t worth the risk. You risk harming others or yourself, fines and points that could lead to you losing your driving licence. When speeding you are less likely to be able to react safely to events that could occur, especially in built up areas where 30mph is the speed limit and hazards are everywhere.”