The majority (88%) of British company car drivers admit to regularly exceeding the speed limit on motorways, compared to around two-thirds (67%) of private motorists, according to the RAC’s Report on Motoring 2014.
The report found that almost two-thirds (62%) of company car drivers claim to reach speeds of 80mph on motorways - almost double that of regular motorists (32%).
Company car drivers were almost three times more likely to hit 90mph or more, with 8% admitting exceeding 90mph, compared with 3% of regular drivers.
When asked why they broke the speed limit, almost a third (31%) of company car drivers said they were just following the general flow of traffic, while a fifth (19%) put it down to the driving conditions being favourable. Meanwhile, 15% said 70mph felt too slow and almost one in 10 (8%) said that modern cars are built to go faster than the speed limit dictates.
The RAC research highlights that there is an overall perception among many business motorists that it is somehow more socially acceptable to speed on motorways than it is on any other roads. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of company car drivers feel that it is perfectly acceptable to travel up to 80mph in a 70mph limit. As a result, some 90% say they would like to see the speed limit on motorways increased, compared with 69% of regular motorists.
With no change to national speed limits for motorways in the pipeline and company car drivers the worst culprits for motorway speeding, the RAC is urging fleet managers to monitor their drivers’ speed compliance more closely.
David Aldridge, business services director at RAC, said: “With the introduction of next generation ‘smart motorways’, where the hard-shoulder is open permanently or during busy periods, and variable speed limits enforced by verge-side speed cameras, there is a real danger that company car drivers may find themselves increasingly on the wrong side of the law and faced with growing numbers of points on their licence.
"Whilst drivers may feel tempted to save time in the working day by going faster, any fleet manager knows that collecting speeding points is ultimately bad for business.
“Telematics is useful for fleet managers who want to monitor driver behaviour more closely and check company car drivers’ compliance with national speed limits. Installation is a simple process involving mounting a small box inside vehicles which sends data back to allow fleet managers to track activity such as speed, location, driving style and time-keeping. This can not only improve driver behaviour but help managers operate a more efficient, cost effective and sustainable fleet.”