Recent studies which have been conducted by the Department of Transport have revealed that in 2022, up to 50% of all drivers admitted to violating the 30mph speed limit.
The tests were conducted under free-flowing traffic conditions. The data also showed that up to 45% of all drivers exceeded the speed limit on the motorway. Of those 45%, 11% admitted that they would break the speed limit on a single carriageway road.
High Compliance But Not Perfect
While it has been noted that the overall speed limit compliance was higher in 2022, and then it was in 2021, that doesn’t mean that the levels are where they should be.
It’s thought that the lower levels of compliance were due to the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. With that being said, the vehicle speed limit compliance in 2022 has remained generally similar to the levels recorded between 2011 and 2019.
It is thought that last year, the percentage of drivers breaking the speed limits by more than 10 miles an hour was much lower than the average amount of speeding. These levels were 8% on the motorway, 5% on typical roads, and 1% on single carriageway roads with the national speed limit.
It’s probably worth noting that the only road conditions recorded were the ones where traffic was free flowing. This means that there are no hills, junctions, speed enforcement equipment, sharp bends, or other measures to maintain orderly traffic.
Under these conditions, the average car speed was just under the speed limit at roughly 69 miles an hour. Most drivers were recorded to have reached the speed limit for 30 mph roads and then matched it.
It’s also worth noting that all of the statistics which have been collected are not covering any road where the inherent layout of the road or traffic regulating methods in place would be likely to impact the average vehicle speed.
Simon Williams is the RAC head of policy. Speaking about these developments, he had the following to say about the situation:
“It’s concerning to see that every year half of drivers exceed the limit on 30mph roads, with more than a fifth (22%) last year driving more than five miles an hour too fast. The implications of speeding on these roads is likely to be greater than on faster roads, not least as they’re generally in areas with more pedestrians and cyclists.
One possible explanation for why speed limit compliance is so much worse compared to other roads is that drivers may be used to looking for speed limit signs, which are much less prevalent on 30mph roads as generally speaking the presence of streetlights indicates the limit is 30mph.
While drivers should know this, perhaps there is a case for the use of more ‘repeater’ signs in 30mph areas so there is no doubt.”
Whether or not this data will prompt the government to introduce more measures to tackle speeding remains unclear.