85% of Drivers Speed on 20mph Roads
85% of drivers exceeded the speed limit on 20mph roads in 2022, according to the DfT’s Vehicle Speed Compliance Statistics for Great Britain 2022.
The caveat is that the speeds in these statistics are measured by Automatic Traffic Counters at locations where drivers are free to choose the speeds at which they travel. This means that there are no junctions, hills, sharp bends, or other features likely to constrain speeds.
The 20mph roads where speeds are measured tend to be through roads with no traffic-calming, which are not representative of most 20mph roads. The speeds are taken in free-flowing traffic conditions.
The DfT Statistics Talk about ‘Cars’ not ‘Drivers’
The statistics are interesting and useful, but like many newspapers the DfT have removed the drivers from the equation. They talk about ‘cars’ speeding, not ‘drivers’.
Speeding on 30mph, 60mph and 70mph Roads
The figures for 20mph roads are the most shocking, but there is plenty of speeding on other roads too.
The percentage of drivers speeding is:
- 50% on 30mph limit roads
- 11% on National Speed Limit (60mph) roads
- 45% on Motorways (70mph limit)
This is a slight improvement on 2021 – a year which was still affected by Covid travel restrictions, which led to more speeding.
The average speeds on these roads are:
- 30mph on 30mph limit roads
- 51mph on NSL roads
- 69mph on Motorways
Times of the Day, Week and Year
There is more speeding at night than during the day, and more speeding at the weekend than during the week.
Speeds are fairly consistent across the year, except for a dip followed by a pronounced spike around Christmas (see the graphic above).
Reasons for Speeding
The reasons for speeding are supplied by the RAC.
‘The speed limit is inappropriate’ was the most popular excuse on 20mph roads.
‘Feel pressure from other drivers behind’ was cited by 20-30% of drivers on all roads. While this is not mentioned in the DfT release, I believe feeling pressure from behind is a major cause of bad overtakes of people on bikes.
The number of speeding offences recorded is increasing significantly. This includes Fixed Penalty Notices, Speed Awareness Courses and convictions in court.
The total number of speed limit offences recorded was 2.4 million in 2021. The 2022 figures will be available in November or December.