New statistics show that during 2016, 81% of cars exceeded the speed limit on roads with a 20mph limit, with 15% exceeding the limit by more than 10mph.
The DfT statistics, published yesterday (29 June), measure speed and compliance at sites where the road conditions are free flowing – for example roads with no junctions, hills, sharp bends, speed enforcement cameras or other traffic calming measures.
Overall, the figures show that since 2011, the percentages of vehicles exceeding the speed limit in free flow conditions have declined slightly for most vehicle and road types.
IAM RoadSmart says ‘widespread confusion’ over 20mph limits is ‘undermining a more general trend to slow down‘.
The 2016 statistics show that single carriageway roads where the national speed limit (60mph) applies had the highest levels of speed limit compliance; 8% of cars exceeded the speed limit on these roads, with 1% exceeding by more than 10mph.
On motorways, 46% of cars exceeded the 70mph speed limit, falling to 11% exceeding the limit by more than 10mph – while on 30mph roads, 53% of cars exceeded the speed limit.
The number exceeding the speed limit is lower during the daytime and higher at night, for most vehicle and road type combinations.
Neil Greig IAM RoadSmart’s director of policy and research, said: “It’s really good news for road safety that the roads with the highest speed compliance are actually our most dangerous – 60mph rural single carriageways.
“The main problem is clearly getting drivers to comply on the ever increasing number of roads in our towns and cities with a 20mph limit. IAM RoadSmart have always felt that blanket 20mph limits, enforced by signposts only, are simply not enough to convey the reason for slowing down to drivers.
“We must all work to make it easy to stick to the speed limit and our main concern is that widespread confusion over 20mph may be undermining a more general trend to slow down.”
Want to know more about speed and road safety?
Online library of research and reports etc – visit the Road Safety Knowledge Centre
Key facts and summaries of research reports – visit the Road Safety Observatory (speed limits)