Road Safety News

UK Road Safety Week to address ‘major problem’ of speed

Wednesday 19th April 2017

Brake has announced that the ‘dangers of speeding’ will be the focus of UK Road Safety Week 2017, which takes place between 20-26 November.

Brake says that in the UK, and across the globe, speeding is still ‘a major problem’, pointing to a Dutch study which suggests ‘drivers with one speeding violation annually are twice as likely to crash as those with none’.

Brake also cites DfT figures which show that breaking the speed limit, or travelling too fast for conditions, was recorded as a contributory factor in 23% of fatal crashes in 2015.

The charity also says that in a survey it conducted, four in 10 of drivers who participated admitted they ‘sometimes’ drive at 30mph in 20mph zones.

The speed theme goes hand-in-hand with that chosen by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the 2017 UN Global Road Safety Week (8-14 May). WHO is encouraging drivers across the globe to show their support for the fourth Global Road Safety Week by pledging to #SlowDown.

Founded in 1997, Brake’s Road Safety Week encourages communities to take action on road safety and promote ‘life-saving’ messages. The week also provides a focal point for professionals to boost road safety awareness and engagement.

Road Safety Week 2017 will use the hashtag #speeddown to help raise awareness about the ‘dangers posed by speeding drivers’. Brake is encouraging campaigners, community groups, road safety professionals, companies and schools to register for a free action pack.

Gary Rae, campaigns director for Brake, said: “Road Safety Week is an opportunity to bring together individuals, businesses and community organisations to focus, this year, on the deadly menace of speed.

“We’ve designed this year’s theme to raise awareness of the growing concern of speed on our roads, whether major routes, urban areas, or rural roads. We’ve started pulling together a creative campaign, built around the hashtag #speeddown, which will get everyone thinking about how they drive on our roads.”

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


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I'm intrigued that you've contested so many TROs Terry. Is this in a professional capacity as a consultant? If so, you would surely know how speed limits really come into existence and that almost all the miles we drive, are on roads with national limits and not local anyway. If you're not, I would respectfully say that you as a driver not liking or agreeing with a speed limit, does not mean it's wrong!
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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Hugh, I obviously have not driven around the country checking TRO's. But driving around, you do witness speed limits that do not comply with setting guidelines. I have contested enough TRO's to know that the police have often objected to the proposed downgrade, but it still goes ahead. As I said before, downgraded based on emotion rather than facts.
Residents complain to local councillor and say they are living on a 'race-track', or, as soon as some form of accident occurs, speed is immediately blamed, without anybody knowing the facts. So then easy for councillors to placate these moaners and reduce the speed limit, showing piously that 'they are doing something'. Hence constant speed limit downgrades, when often missing the real issue, that some people make of having difficulty of exiting their driveway, crossing the road etc is down to the volume of traffic, not its speed.
Terry Hudson, Kent

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Bob, it is true that some police forces don't adhere to 110% + 2mph. Some adhere to 110% + 3mph.
David Weston, Corby

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Quite right Terry. We must avoid resorting to urban myths and being influenced by the uninformed emotive rhetoric of pressure groups and their spokespersons. Fortunately that's never been a problem on this forum. Well done by the way, for taking the trouble to go around the country checking on all those local speed limits - quite an undertaking I would have thought with all those reports and surveys to read and check, then the site visit etc. etc.

To 'M' of Worthington - Dodgy logic and conclusions I'm afraid. Tailgaters are speeders, temporarily held up by slower moving, more sensible drivers - same beast. Yes, I have stopped many and asked them.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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The latest news as published in the Mirror is that in Scotland and some other police forces they are no longer adopting the differential of 10% plus 2 mph advocated some years ago and made public by The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). This hopefully will now deter and slow down many drivers who regularly drive to those higher differentials and who now will have to look towards their own speedometer and drive at a slower speed.

All they need to do now is give safer following on distance and we have the recipe for much safer road conditions and even a possible reduction of near 50% in accident stats that TISPOL are looking for throughout Europe by 2020.

I would like to believe that my continued efforts over the last few years of bringing this anomalous speed discrepancy to light in many different quarters has at last had some effect. Somebody somewhere has listened and acted.
Bob Craven Lancs

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Hugh Jones, what you are saying is just an urban myth promoted by the so called 'road safety' industry. Speeding does not mean recklessness. Those that speed without being reckless, tend to be more alert and respond quicker to ever changing road conditions.
Drivers may drive too fast into a hazard, but that is because they have failed to spot the potential hazard in the first place!

If speed was the problem, then why do not say police drivers continually crash? Could it be something to do with better training?

The DfT issues guidelines (Setting Local Speed Limits) to try and ensure there is some form of national consistency, but councils just ignore these guidelines and prefer to set speed limits on the whims and fancies of local councillors and that is why you can end up with 30mph speed limit on roads with just fields either side of the road. Councillors pleasing local voters takes priority over national interests of having an efficient road network.

So is 'speeding' so dangerous that it now warrants draconian punishments as recently announced, when speed limits are set so emotionally?

We should stop worrying about the speed people drive at, but HOW they are driving. I find your last paragraph very telling, for what you are saying that it is easy to detect 'speeders' but those driving below an expected standard is harder, so let us take the easy option and target speeders; which of course is government policy.
Terry Hudson, Kent

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If we look at statistics then we know that about only 5% of over 2 million drivers are reported for actually being over the speed limit. This is according to TISPOL and project EDWARD. We are also told that accidents involving excessive speeds are about 24% of all collisions and therefore we can then assume that if 5% is exceeding the speed limit then some 19% is for driving too fast but at speeds below the speed limit. That does not correlate with your assumptions Hugh that speeders who break the speed limits are the same ones as those that break other traffic laws as some 95% of other drivers did not break the speeding law. On the other hand if one looks at any traffic travelling on our roads today one can easily recognise that some 30% plus of drivers will be tailgating. They are the ones who are most likely to become involved in a collision somewhere, sometime. It doesn't have to be a tailgating accident as such ie running into the rear of another vehicle but a smidsy at a junction or a collision on a roundabout. These drivers continually fail to give safe space because they do not know just what safe space is. They know all about speeding and what speeds they can do without being prosecuted but nothing about safe following on distances at all. You stop and ask one.

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I don't see a problem with Brake highlighting the 'major problem' of speed Terry, however you try and subdivide it. Your specific concern seems to be those who 'drive too fast for the conditions', however the mindset that causes a driver to travel too fast for the conditions is the same for the one who is also prone to break the speed limit anyway (and no doubt also the one who 'fails to look properly' which you've also highlighted) i.e. the careless and reckless driver doesn't 'choose' one traffic law to violate, nor do they just adhere to one bad practice - it's across the board, which is what the Dutch study is implying - that the regular speeder, because of their mindset, will be accident prone, but how that accident arises may vary.

As the technology exists to detect and action the 'over the limit' speed offences rather than the much harder to action 'too fast for conditions', or even 'failed to look properly', it makes sense to concentrate on the speed limit violator - it's usually the same people!
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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'Breaking the speed limit' and 'travelling too fast for conditions' are two entirely different issues! The first is unlikely to be a problem and second will cause a problem, but do not expect Brake to understand that!

Simple way to stop 'speeding' is to scrap all speed limits and hence no 'speeding'. If you want to get drivers to drive at a safe speed for prevailing conditions, then this requires a lot more effort and intelligent thinking. So government go for the easy first option of mindless obedience to speed limits as the panacea for all accidents. Which of course dovetails nicely into its pro cycling, anti-car agenda.

As speed limits only ever go down, then this just generates more 'speeders', but that does not mean dangerous.

DfT figures state that only about 5% of accidents are down to "Exceeding the speed limit", where-as over 40% are in the "Failed to look properly" category. But as Brake trades in emotive rhetoric they just ignore facts, for their own agenda.
Terry Hudson

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Dutch study is based on cars in police reported crashes - around 5% of all cars. Dis-proportionally this group of vehicles will have irresponsible drivers, drivers with little regard for road safety rules. So in reviewing the results this has to be kept in mind. And as the number of speeding offences per annum and severity of speeding offences increases there will be even greater levels of irresponsible drivers involved. The end result could be the result of the lack of safety of these irresponsible drivers and nothing to do with road safety for responsible drivers.
John Lambert, Geelong, Australia

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The Dutch system tends to be quite strict - between 4km/h(!!) and 20km/h (I think?) over any given limit or so can end up with a non-endorsable fine. Therefore, those who tend to collect speeding tickets in NL tend to be those who spend a lot of their time behind the wheel. Professional drivers, say.
David Weston, Corby

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Oh dear, here we have yet another example of Brake misrepresenting study data. The news from Brake claims that "Drivers with one speeding violation annually are twice as likely to crash as those with none." To support that they cite a Dutch study. However, the Dutch study explicitly excludes driver behaviour from its analysis of the data. The first sentence of the study abstract starts: "To establish the statistical relationship between offenses and crashes when the unit of analysis is the vehicle instead of the driver,"!

Can we actually trust anything we read from Brake? This just shows how important it is to thoroughly vet anything that comes out of this organisation before giving any credibility to it.
Charles, England

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It's two problems: the excessive speed in itself and the speeder i.e. the one who creates the excessive speed in the first place. The Dutch study referred to in the article seems to confirm what many have thought - how the serial speeder will get into more scrapes than the non-speeder.

Referring to the three 'E's: excessive speed in itself can be dealt with by Engineering (physical retarders) but can only limit the negative effects locally, whereas the speeders themselves can be dealt with through Enforcement and penalties and has a more global benefit. As for the third E (Education), unfortunately I think it's the least effective of the three 'E's with regard to speeders.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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