Department for Transport figures show that when the road clears, we accelerate
5 April 2007

Speed cameras might be growing like an ugly rash on our roads, but it seems we still manage to break speed limits where possible.Statistics released today (5 April) by the Department for Transport (DfT) detail vehicle speeds in Great Britain in 2006 in free-flow conditions, and they’re a lot higher than you’d think. On motorways, 54 per cent of cars travel over the 70mph speed limit. However, to keep the anti-speeding lobby happy, we should point out that, as with all other incidences of speeding, that’s a decrease on the figures from 2005, when 56 per cent of those driving on a clear motorway broke the limit.In 30mph zones, 46 per cent of drivers broke the limit, a big drop compared with 65 per cent in 2001.On single-carriageway roads with a 60mph limit, 11 per cent of drivers broke the limit, though the average speed recorded for cars on these roads was 48mph. What’s amazing is that the average speed for HGVs on these roads was just 2mph lower, at 46mph, yet the speed limit for lorries is 40mph.What isn’t clear from these statistics is for how long any of these drivers was exceeding the limit – for all we know, it could have been for 30sec while overtaking a speeding HGV…We’re also not sure where or when the DfT found these free-flowing roads. If you find one, please let us know.

Rory Lumsdon

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