More than half of drivers in Britain exceed 30mph limits, says DfT
New calls to raise the motorway
New calls to raise the motorway speed limit to 80mph to aid road safety 'because it reduces dangerous overtaking'
- Some 53% of car users drive over 30mph limits and 46% speed on motorways
- DfT stats show its motorcyclists who most commonly speed
- That said, more than a third of all vehicle types exceed 30 limits, including buses
- Increased speed limits for lorries have contributed to better road safety, ministers say
More than half of motorists in Britain speed in 30mph zones.
That's according to a new Department for Transport review of 2018 figures, which found 53 per cent of car users and 52 per cent of van drivers exceed residential restrictions.
More than two in five drivers also travel at speeds of more than 70mph on the motorway, as the statistics suggest many are flouting the law.
AA president Edmund King said the stats were 'concerning' and the next Prime Minister should champion road safety and increase police numbers to enforce speed limits across the country.
Speeding concerns: More than half of motorists exceed 30mph limits and almost as many speed on the motorways, DfT figures for 2018 show
The DfT released the 'Vehicle Speed Compliance Statistics, Great Britain: 2018' report, which provides a breakdown of speed limit compliance rates across different vehicle types.
It found that more than a third of all vehicle categories exceed 30mph limits, including HGVs and large buses.
Motorcyclists are most likely to be going over a 30 limit - 55 per cent of riders, according to the Government.
There's a similar breakdown for motorists speeding on motorways.
Some 46 per cent of car users and 47 per cent of van driver are travelling over 70mph on motorways, with 53 per cent of bikers doing the same.
AA president Edmund King said the next prime minster needs to take action against speeding in residential areas with 30 limits
The breakdown of vehicle categories shows that a third of buses are even exceeding 30 limits
Motorists were shown to be more willing to speed in 30mph zones in the early hours than any other time of the day
While the figures might suggest that motorists in Britain are showing complete disregard for the law, the DfT found that a much smaller proportion are significantly exceeding limits.
Just 11 per cent travel at 80mph or over on the motorway, it found.
Increased speed limits for lorries may have improved road safety
According to ministers, the recent update to lorry speed limits has saved businesses millions of pounds a year and may have helped improve road safety.
The aim was to improve delivery times and also reduce the gulf in travelling speeds of trucks and all other traffic, reducing the nee for overtakes.
A report shows that allowing heavy goods vehicles over 7.5 tonnes to travel at 50mph on single carriageways and 60mph on dual carriageways has possibly contributed to 'statistically significant' decrease in accidents.
Roads Minister Michael Ellis said: 'I am pleased to see the improvement in safety while helping to unlock the UK’s potential – encouraging growth and enhancing productivity.
'Increasing the speed limit for lorries has helped companies save time and money, enabling them to re-invest this in their business and buying newer and greener vehicles.
'This move has also potentially improved road safety as it appears to have reduced the risks some drivers take when overtaking slow-moving vehicles.'
The report also shows that the number of speeding lorries has fallen by about 70 per cent.
More surprising - and somewhat concerning - is that a greater number of motorists are willing to go 10mph over the limit in a residential area than outside of one.
While five per cent of drivers are 10mph over 30mph roads, just one per cent are 10mph over on 60mph routes.
'For all vehicle types, compliance tended to be highest on national speed limit single carriageways and lowest on 30mph roads,' the report stated.
It also added that the percentage of vehicles complying with speed limits was higher on weekdays than on weekends.
While the records claim that around half of motorists drive over limits, just 169,000 drivers in England and Wales were found guilty of speeding offences in 2018, with a conviction rate of 89 per cent.
Speeding was, in fact, the most in-decline offence of all driving transgressions last year, though they still accounted for more than a quarter (27 per cent) of all motoring convictions.
DfT records also showed that more than 1.32 million drivers attended speed awareness courses in the UK last year.
It's the fourth year running that there have been more than 1 million speed awareness course attended by drivers.
AA president Edmund King said the speed compliance statistics - particularly those in 30mph zones - were 'extremely concerning' and called for more to be done to encourage drivers to adhere to restriction.
'Speed kills, so drivers should remember that lower limits on residential roads and are there for a very important reason.
'The next Prime Minister can become a champion of road safety, by reversing the cut to cops in cars who not only act as a deterrent, but also catch and penalise those with a heavy right foot.'
The latest government figures show that exceeding speed limits was reported as a contributory factor for 4.8 per cent per cent (4,261) of accidents in 2017, the same proportion as in 2016 (4,545).
The share of fatal and serious accidents where exceeding the speed limit was reported as a contributory factor was 6.7 per cent (1,255) that year - which has remained stable since 2013.
Explained: How the DfT records speeds for its research
The Department for Transport uses automatic traffic counters (ATCs) across Britain to measure speeds of vehicles in different limits.
The number of individual vehicles observed in the production of the 2018 statistics was 655million at 102 sites with ATC.
The ATCs identifies each vehicle group by measuring the number of axles, the axle spacing and the length of the vehicle.
Hundreds of foreign drivers have escaped speeding fines because police 'can't trace' the cars' owners
By James Salmon Transport Editor
The motorway speed limit should be raised, campaigners said last night – after a report found easing restrictions for lorries may have made the roads safer.
Almost half of drivers are breaking the 70mph limit, a second report revealed.
The two pieces of research have reignited the long-running debate about motorway speeds.
AA president Edmund King said: ‘Driving at 80pmh at an appropriate distance from the vehicle in front, in a modern car in good weather on a decent motorway is probably safe.
‘Driving at 50mph tailgating the car in front is never safe.’
In 2015 goods vehicles weighing over 7.5 tons were allowed to increase their maximum speed from 40mph to 50mph on single carriageways and from 50mph to 60mph on dual carriageways. It was meant to ensure lorries travel at closer speeds to other traffic, reducing dangerous overtaking.
A Department for Transport report on the move yesterday concluded increasing the speed limit has boosted productivity, saving businesses ‘millions of pounds a year’ by allowing drivers to deliver goods more quickly.
But it also said the evidence so far suggested there has been a ‘statistically significant improvement to road safety’.
Roads minister Michael Ellis said: ‘Increasing the speed limit for lorries has helped companies save time and money, enabling them to re-invest this in their business and buying newer and greener vehicles.
‘This move has also potentially improved road safety as it appears to have reduced the risks some drivers take when overtaking slow-moving vehicles.’
The DfT found that the speed of the average lorry rose by 1.5mph to 45.6mph on single carriageway roads after the limit was increased to 50mph. The average speed also edged up by 0.4 per cent to 52.4mph on dual carriageways.
It said an increase of just one mile per hour would free up 650,000 driver hours and save hauliers £10million a year.
Meanwhile, in a separate study the Department for Transport revealed that 46 per cent of cars were breaking the 70mph speed limit on motorways last year.
The 70mph speed limit was introduced in 1965, soon after the first motorways were built. But many experts argue it has become outdated as modern cars have become faster and safer.
Howard Cox, founder of motoring campaign group FairFuelUK, said: ‘It’s high time speed limits on motorways and dual carriageways are increased to match those in all EU states. At 80mph, where it’s safe to do so, the positive benefits to the economy, travel times and driver stress will be substantial. Most drivers already drive at this speed.’
Liz Truss, who has been tipped for a cabinet job if Boris Johnson becomes prime minister, has said an 80mph limit on motorways would boost productivity as drivers would waste less time in their cars.
Highways agency boss Jim O’Sullivan – who looks after motorways – has also said the speed limit on some roads could be safely raised to 80mph.
But RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said it would be too risky. He added: ‘Given that inappropriate speed is still a major factor in collisions, it’s unlikely many motorways in the UK are suited to an 80mph limit. We know a large proportion of drivers already regularly exceed the 70mph limit so there is a danger increasing it would send out the wrong message.’