No need for speed highlighted during Road Safety Week 2020

A police officer on a road

New research released by the road safety charity Brake to mark the start of Road Safety Week highlights the issue of excessive speeding and reminds drivers there is 'No Need to Speed'.

The new evidence released today (Monday, 16th November) from a survey of 2,000 UK drivers highlights that more than a quarter (28%) of male drivers admit having driven above 100mph; more than three times the number of women admitting this (9%). 

Brake, in partnership with police forces, is also revealing police data on the highest speeds over the limits in police force areas. According to the data analysed by the charity, the highest excess speed was a driver travelling at 152 mph in a 30mph zone, recorded by the Metropolitan Police. The highest speed overall, was 180mph, captured by Nottinghamshire Police in a 70mph zone.

Brake’s research found that nearly one in five of all UK drivers (18%), more than a quarter (28%) of male drivers (9% for females) and one in three (33%) of 25-34 year old drivers have admitted to speeding at more than 100mph on a public road.

The charity’s research also found that one in three (32%) of all UK drivers, nearly half (44%) of male drivers (21% for females) and nearly half (47%) of 25-34 year old drivers admit to having been in a vehicle speeding at more than 100mph on a public road, either as the driver or a passenger.

Drivers caught exceeding 100mph on public roads face a driving ban of up to eight weeks, and a fine of 150% of their weekly income. The use of lengthy driving bans for excess speeding is supported by Brake. The charity highlights that stopping distances at 100mph are approximately 182m – the length of nearly two football pitches– making stopping in time to avoid a crash practically impossible.

In addition to the dangers of excessive speeds, Brake is highlighting to the UK’s majority law-abiding drivers that in many conditions, such as in the wet or near cyclists and pedestrians, even driving within the speed limit can be too fast. Drivers can visit for more information and guidance.

Brake analysis of Government data has found that, on average, there are 11 deaths or serious injuries every day on UK roads where speed – either exceeding the limit or travelling too fast for conditions – is identified as a contributory factor to the crash by the police. The charity states that while shocking, this figure is likely a vast underestimate of the impact of speed, as slower speeds mean more chance to stop in time, and speed is an inevitable factor in nearly all deaths and serious injuries. It is difficult in some crashes for the police to determine whether or not speed was a direct causal factor, and more in-depth collision investigation following fatal and serious injury crashes would be likely to show higher rates of speed as a causal factor.

Caroline Kirsopp lost her daughter and unborn grandson to a road crash in 2018 on her 60th birthday. Anna was 38 weeks pregnant with a boy, who would have been called Oscar – a little brother for her two-year-old son Henry. On December 18, as Anna was driving to her final antenatal appointment, she was hit by a car that was travelling at more than 100mph. Anna and Oscar died at the scene. This Road Safety Week, Caroline is asking everyone to remember Anna and Oscar and remember there is No Need to Speed.

Caroline said: “Our lives are empty without Anna. Anna’s life was cut short, Oscar didn’t even have the chance to live, Henry will live a life without his mother and brother. I go about my life, looking as I always did; but inside I am broken. I am supporting Road Safety Week to try to make a difference in Anna and Oscar’s memory. It doesn't matter if you think you are an experienced driver or not. Speeding kills. In Anna and Oscar’s memory, please slow down.”

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said: “There is no excuse for breaking the speed limit and these figures highlight the grossly excessive speeds of some drivers who show complete disregard for the law and people’s safety. None of us should be put in danger by the high-risk behaviour of others when we’re getting about on roads, and that’s why, this Road Safety Week, we are asking everyone to join us in our call that there is no need to speed.

“Many drivers drift over limits by mistake but our research shows that a shockingly large number of drivers, particularly men, break speed limits excessively. We want all drivers to remember the daily disasters that are due to speed, think about the victims, slow down, and reduce road danger. It’s important to remember that sometimes driving under the speed limit can still be too fast, particularly on winding roads, roads with poor visibility, and roads where there could be people about on bicycles and on foot. The voices of the bereaved and injured help us all to understand that getting somewhere a few minutes earlier is never worth the risk.”

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “Every death or serious injury on the roads of Merseyside is one too many. Each and every one brings suffering and misery to those who are involved, their families, friends, and whole communities.

"Road Safety Week is an opportunity to encourage all drivers make sure their behaviour on our roads does not put others in jeopardy. Speeding is illegal, dangerous and puts other road users at risk and I am supporting Brake in reminding people that there is No Need to Speed."

Roads Minister, Baroness Vere, said: “Speeding is illegal, reckless and puts people’s lives at unnecessary risk. For this reason, there are tough penalties and strict enforcement measures in place for those who disobey the law.

“We’re working hard to change attitudes that lead to speeding, including through our THINK! campaign which targets young men.

“The stories of families who have lost loved ones are absolutely heart-breaking. So please always remember there is no need to speed.”