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Last Updated: Monday, 7 February, 2005, 14:42 GMT
'Half of drivers' admit speeding
Facts and figures from survey

More than half of British drivers break speed limits every day, a survey by motoring organisation the RAC suggests.

Of the 1,074 questioned, 55% admitted regularly speeding, compared with 45% in last year's RAC Report on Motoring.

The RAC says 30mph limits are the most likely to be ignored, and drivers continue speeding because they do not believe they will be caught.

Spokesman Philip Hale said: "More effective deterrents do need serious and urgent consideration."

There are about 30m vehicles in the UK, which has one of the best road safety records in the world, says the RAC.

We have something of a speeding epidemic on our hands
Philip Hale, RAC

But about 100 people a day are seriously injured or killed on the roads and speed is blamed for a third of road deaths, it said.

Two thirds of drivers admitted speeding in 30mph zones, while 57% said they broke motorway speed limits.

Mr Hale said: "We have something of a speeding epidemic on our hands.

"Enough people to fill 10 commercial holiday jets die every year on Britain's roads.

"Individual motorists know these risks, yet choose to ignore them."

If there are more people prepared to admit it this year, it means the government's message is being laughed at
Paul Smith, Safe Speed

But Paul Smith, founder of campaign group Safe Speed, who wants to see speed cameras scrapped, said the survey only showed how many people were prepared to admit speeding.

"The figures are low, almost every driver exceeds the speed limit on occasion, sometimes deliberately, sometimes accidentally," he told BBC News.

"If there are more people prepared to admit it this year, it means the government's message is being laughed at."

Those surveyed suggested an immediate 12-month ban or an electronic tracking device fitted to cars would be the best deterrents.

Speed limits need to be reviewed to make them sensible and enforceable
David Andrews, Basingstoke, UK

The RAC said extreme measures were not practical, but better detection, tougher penalties and more education were needed.

It suggested graduated penalties, compulsory re-training and education after a speeding ban, more traffic police, and in-car "black box" tracking devices for repeat or serious offenders.

New initiatives

In its survey, the RAC found 44% of motorists agree with the sentiment that "all the fun has gone out of driving these days".

To put the fun back in, most said they would like to see middle and fast lane hogging made a driving offence.

Removing speed bumps and speed cameras were also popular initiatives.

On the quirkier side of the survey, drivers showed support for banning 4x4 cars from urban and city locations, reserving fast lanes to company cars only, removing all single yellow lines and increasing the minimum driving age to 21.

'Others' the problem

Some 74% of drivers said they consider themselves to be safer than most other motorists, and 84% consider themselves to be law abiding drivers.

Research also shows many drivers believe roads would be safer if everyone drove like themselves, many seeing "other drivers" as the main problem.

However, the survey revealed that 6% of those who consider themselves to be law abiding admit to using a mobile phone without a hands free device in the car at least once a week.

The RAC also found 20% of typical British drivers have a bout of road rage 'every now and then', 25% jump red lights every once in a while and 19% block junctions at least monthly.

The RAC said the findings suggest more rigorous detection methods are needed to reduce dangerous behaviour on British roads.

Why motorists are failing to curb their speed

Crackdown on speeding motorists
01 Feb 05 |  Northern Ireland
Can 'naked roads' kill speed?
31 Jan 05 |  Magazine
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21 Jan 05 |  Wiltshire

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