• November 16, 2020

  • Abby Nuttall

Today marks the start of Road Safety Week in the UK, a national campaign that is held annually to raise awareness for a particular aspect of road safety.

The campaign is organised by the road safety charity Brake who raise awareness on issues for all road users as well as supporting people affected by road traffic accidents and their families.

Now in its 23rd year, Road Safety Week targets a particular aspect of road safety for users each year and has helped raise awareness of a number of different issues, including the road safety of other road users. This year the theme is no need to speed, highlighting the impact of speeding for all road users.

Across the UK there is a range of different speed limits ranging from 20 mph to 70 mph on public roads, in 10 mph intervals. In most urban areas the limit is 30 mph unless otherwise stated, and the national speed limit on single carriageways is 60 mph and on dual carriageways 70 mph unless otherwise stated.  

Speed limits are designed to ensure drivers have the appropriate time to react to potential hazards that might occur on that particular road which is why it’s so important to keep to them. No need to speed is drawing attention to the limits and the need to stick to them.

On average five people die every day on the road in Great Britain and countless more are injured, according to Brake, and one of the contributing factors in a lot of road accidents is speed.

Nilsson’s Power Model is one of the best-regarded and most used research models that looks at the relationship between speed and accidents involving serious injuries or fatalities and it shows that a 5% increase in average speed leads to approximately a 10% increase in all injury accidents and a 20% increase in fatal accidents.

Earlier this year the Department for Transport (DfT) published their Vehicle Speed Compliance Statistics for Great Britain in 2019. This report looks at speed data from a sample of the DfT’s automatic traffic counters, although it is not reflective of speeds across the entire road network as the counters were chosen to exclude external factors that might restrict driver behaviour. For example, sharp bends, speed cameras or junctions. However, it does give an indication of driving habits where drivers can freely drive without restrictions.

The report shows that 54% of cars exceeded the speed limit on motorways, 50% exceeded a 30 mph speed limit and 9% on single carriageways with a national speed limit in place. However, when you look at the proportion of cars speeding by more than 10 mph this drops to 12% on a motorway, 6% on a 30 mph road, and 1% on 60 mph roads. And the report also states that overall vehicle compliance with speed limits has remained broadly stable since 2011, and the average car speeds under free-flow conditions were close to the speed limits, suggesting that on the whole most drivers are sticking close to the limit.

Road Safety Week is open for anyone to get involved with and receives support from across the UK from schools, community groups, individuals and businesses large and small. If you want to find out more about getting involved then take a look at the Road Safety Week website. 

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