Drivers are being urged to slow down to protect children on foot and bicycle, as research out today by Brake and Direct Line reveals the extent to which speeding in communities has become ingrained in many people's regular driving habits, especially young and male drivers.
More than half of young drivers (52%) speed at 35mph+ in 30mph limits at least weekly, compared to 34% of older drivers. Nearly half of male drivers (46%) speed at 35mph+ in 30mph limits at least weekly, compared to 27% of female drivers. Brake is warning these speeds make our communities risky places for people, children in particular, to walk and cycle, and is appealing to all drivers to slow down to help families get out and about safely during the holidays and year-round.
Brake and Direct Line are urging drivers to Pledge to not only stay within limits, but slow down to 20mph or below around homes, schools and shops.
Ellen Booth, Brake senior campaigns officer, said: "Children make mistakes on roads, so it's vital drivers are always ready to stop in an emergency. Don't fool yourself that you can handle faster speeds: slowing down to 20mph or less around schools and homes is essential in giving yourself time to react, and allowing families to walk and cycle without fear. If we want to encourage greener, healthier lifestyles then making our roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists is critical, and all drivers can play a part in this. At the same time, we're appealing to government to invest in more 20mph limits, appealing to local authorities everywhere to implement these life-saving and life-enabling schemes as widely as possible."
Andy Goldby, director of Motor Underwriting and Pricing for Direct Line Car Insurance, said: "Speed is one of the biggest killers on our roads and speed limits are there for a reason. Whilst parents can teach children how to cross the road safely and warn them of the dangers when out playing, the lives of their loved ones are very much in the hands of drivers and whether or not they are willing to slow down. Speed limits are a maximum and not a ‘must do'. Gauging the conditions and situation is not just the responsibility of pedestrians, drivers have a responsibility too; they need to drive as they'd want others to if their child was playing nearby."
In 2010, 57 children were killed on UK roads and 2,540 were seriously injured, including life-changing injuries like brain damage, limb loss and paralysis.
The survey of 942 drivers by Brake and Direct Line found that:
- Overall, 72% of drivers admit speeding at 35mph or more in a 30mph limit at least once in the past year, while 36% admit doing this weekly.
- Young drivers, age 17 - 24, speed at 35mph or more in a 30mph limit more frequently than older drivers, with more than half (52%) doing this weekly or more, compared to a third of older drivers (34%).
- Male drivers are far more likely to take this risk regularly than women, with nearly half (46%) admitting to driving at 35mph+ in a 30mph zone weekly or more, compared to just over four in 10 (27%) women. One in nine male drivers (11%) admit breaking 30mph limits by 5mph or more every day, compared to 2% of women.
- Young drivers are more likely to risk speeding in 30mph limits overall, with 80% of young drivers admitting to speeding at 35mph+ in a 30mph limit at least once in the past year compared to 71% of older drivers. Males also showed a greater level of speeding overall: 78% of males admitted speeding by 5mph or more in a 30mph limit compared to 67% of females.