80 per cent of drivers ignore 20mph speed limits

speed limit sign
4 Jul, 2017 12:25pm Michael Cox

Figures show majority are flouting the tightest traffic calming measures, however the total percentage exceeding speed limits has dropped

Eight out of ten motorists are ignoring 20mph speed limits, according to government figures. Statistics from the Department for Transport show 20mph zones are failing to work in most areas, with claims drivers “don’t believe in them”.

The study reveals motorists are most likely to speed where the limit is lowest, with nearly one in six doing more than 30mph on 20mph streets.

Edmund King, president of the AA, told The Times: “These statistics indicate that blanket 20mph speed limits aren’t particularly effective. Where they are targeted, like outside schools these lower limits work because people can see the point of them.

“But if 20mph limits are simply imposed over a whole area, people just don’t believe in them and it’s no surprise they then fail to comply.”

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53 per cent exceed the maximum in 30mph areas and 46 per cent drive faster than 70mph on motorways. Drivers are most compliant on single carriageway roads though where the national speed limit applies, with 8 per cent breaking 60mph.

However the statistics, collected using hundreds of traffic counters placed on UK roads last year, show the total percentage of motorists exceeding speed limits has dropped slightly since 2011.

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A DfT spokeswoman said: “Research shows that 20mph zones in the right areas can save lives and we have made it easier for councils to introduce them. It is for councils to set speed limits in their area and police to decide how best to enforce them.”

The UK’s first 20mph limit was introduced in 1991 and rules were loosened to allow local authorities to make decisions on introducing zones.

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