Three in four drivers 'ignore 30mph limit'
MOST motorists admit to ignoring the 30mph limit when driving in towns and villages, a new survey has claimed.
• Picture: Julie Bull
According to research by road safety charity Brake, 72 per cent of motorists questioned admitted driving at 35mph or faster in a 30mph zone. Half of those admitted doing so daily or at least once a week.
Brake chief executive Mary Williams said: "There appears to be widespread complacency among drivers who may think they will be able to stop in time if they are just going 'a few' miles over 30, but the physics of speed tells us they won't, and the casualty figures tell us they don't.
"Many of these drivers wouldn't dream of drink or drug driving, but are prepared to risk lives by speeding.
"There need to be more campaigns that explain to otherwise law-abiding citizens the exponentially damaging effects of increases in speed."
According to the charity, every day in Britain eight children and young people up to the age of 19 are killed or seriously injured on foot or on bicycles.
Ms Williams added: "There is no safe speed at which you can hit someone on foot.
"A car is a one tonne chunk of metal that can cause death or serious injury at any speed.
"However, by driving slowly in communities we stand a much greater chance of stopping in time.
"As a driver's speed rises, their stopping distances rise much quicker; stopping distances treble between 20mph and 40mph."
Ms Williams said child pedestrian death rates were significantly lower in countries such as the Netherlands, where 20mph was the default urban limit. Brake is calling on the government to adopt the same speed limit in the UK.
However, while Neil Greig of the Institute of Advanced Motoring described Brake's figures as "troubling", he questioned the introduction of a standard 20mph limit in urban areas.
"At the IAM, we don't like blanket speed limits," he said. "We think you should have a speed limit tailored to that road at that particular time and circumstances, and 20mph will be appropriate in a housing estate, or a school. "
Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: "We're disappointed but not surprised. It just shows we've got a lot of work to do to pay attention to the speed we're doing.
"We don't support a blanket limit. 20mph can be very effective in the right place. There are lots of roads in urban areas where it would not be appropriate, you have to let the traffic move."
Brake surveyed 8,900 drivers. The study's results were to be revealed today at an international conference on speed.
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