‘Join the conversation and talk about speed’

07.51 | 20 November 2023 | | 2 comments

Road deaths and serious injuries caused by driver speed rose significantly last year, analysis of DfT data published to mark the start of Road Safety Week 2023 shows.

The latest road casualty statistics show that in 2022, 1,766 people died on UK roads, a 10% increase on figures from the previous year.

Brake’s analysis found that in the same period, road deaths caused by drivers exceeding the speed limit rose by 20%.

Brake has also published the findings of a public opinion survey, which asked more than 2,000 drivers about their attitudes to speed and speed limits. 

The survey found that 92% of drivers think that speed limits are essential for the safety of our roads. Despite this, more than a third (34%) of those surveyed said they sometimes or often drive faster than the speed limit, and 40% think that driving just a little bit over the speed limit doesn’t matter. 

Two-fifths (39%) of drivers surveyed also agreed that the default speed limit on roads in built-up areas should be lowered from 30mph to 20mph.

Brake is releasing the survey results at the start of its biggest annual road safety campaign, Road Safety Week, which runs from 19-25 November. 

The charity is calling on everyone to join a national conversation about speed, to raise awareness of the dangers of excessive and inappropriate speed, and challenge why so many people still think it is acceptable to drive faster than the speed limit.

This year, more than 3,400 schools, communities, organisations and emergency services, together representing more than 17 million people, have signed up to take part in Road Safety Week by organising local activities, sharing important road safety messages. 

Brake has provided free resources to everyone taking part in Road Safety Week, including campaigns toolkits, lesson plans and assemblies for school, as well as factsheets, films, posters and more for businesses, local communities and campaign groups.

Ross Moorlock, interim CEO at Brake, said: “Road death is sudden. It’s traumatic. It sends shockwaves across families, schools, workplaces and communities. This year, we have already supported more than 1,500 people affected by road crashes through our National Road Victim Service.

“Today, five people will be killed on our roads. And tomorrow, another five won’t make it home to their families. And so on, and so on, until we all say ‘Enough!’ and start taking responsibility for each other’s safety on the road.

“The speed we choose to drive at can mean the difference between life and death. Our speed dictates whether we can stop in time to avoid a crash, and the force of impact if we can’t stop. This Road Safety Week, whoever you are, and however you travel, I urge you to join the conversation and talk about speed. 

“Please talk to as many people as you can to find out why, when five people die on our roads every day, so many of us still choose to drive too fast.”



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    “Our speed dictates whether we can stop in time to avoid a crash, and the force of impact if we can’t stop” Obviously quite right – however some drivers can’t judge their speed with respect to hazard avoidance – hence collisions. Tunnel vision plays a part as well… drivers need to be constantly scanning the full width of the highway ahead and be ready to brake, rather than just the area immediately surrounding the vehicle in front.

    One other point, “..road deaths caused by drivers exceeding the speed limit rose by 20%…” This is a misleading statement as there must have been other factors in each case. As an example “V1 failed to negotiate a bend due to excessive speed – which was also over the posted speed limit” would be a more helpful cause of a collision, rather than simply “being over the speed limit”. Perhaps Brake have been a bit too selective in their analysis.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
    Agree (5) | Disagree (1)

    Quote from text above: ‘Brake’s analysis found that in the same period, road deaths caused by drivers exceeding the speed limit rose by 20%’.

    Problem is that whilst these fact may essentially be true they lead to the presumption that if a driver is at or below the speed limit he or she is automatically safer. Instances of driving below the speed limit and yet being highly crash vulnerable are very common. So, you could have an instance in town where although the limit might be 30 10mph would be the appropriate safe speed. Also even doing 30 in a 30 a following distance of 2 seconds or less means a driver is crash vulnerable (30% of crashes being front to rear end shunts) and separation, i.e. safe following, distances on motorways, for example, are generally horrendous.

    So avoid the assumption that anyone over the limit is automatically unsafe and those at or below are, equally automatically, safe. I suggest you et the handle on it, ‘Brake’.

    Nigel ALBRIGHT, Taunton
    Agree (11) | Disagree (0)

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