Speeding is still normal behaviour
Safe Speed Press information

 release date: 20th May 2004 number: PR123

Speeding is still normal behaviour

News. For immediate release

Department for Transport Figures, released today, show that speeding is still normal behaviour for drivers. After a full decade of speed camera enforcement of speed limits, and despite an estimated 3 million speeding tickets issued last year, driver behaviour remains unchanged.

One of the stated objectives of the speed camera system is to change drivers' speed behaviour. Clearly this is not happening.

Paul Smith, founder of the Safe Speed road safety campaign, described the news as "a blessed relief" and explained: "Our road safety systems absolutely depend on the vast majority of drivers selecting a safe and
appropriate speed according to the conditions. If the Government had managed to persuade them to give up this behaviour and blindly drive at the speed limit there would be utter carnage on the roads."

Paul continues: "A number of the spot figures contained in the new report show that three quarters of our drivers are exceeding some of our speed limits. It is frankly absurd to suggest that this behaviour may be dangerous. Our roads are still the safest in the world. The competent and careful actions of a large majority of responsible people should obviously be considered legal."

Paul continues: "Speed enforcement has completely lost touch with reality. Clearly the camera partnerships are not making the roads safer, yet, meanwhile, millions of drivers are being penalised for doing exactly what we need them to do, and that's drive safely according to the conditions."

Paul continues: "Speed limit laws are good - we need them - but we certainly don't need digital enforcement with absolutely no regard for the circumstances of the offence. Speed cameras and digital enforcement didn't even exist when we earned ourselves the safest roads in the World. We didn't need speed cameras then, and we don't need them now. That's because you can't measure safe driving in miles per hour.

Example figures:

87% of HGVs were exceeding their 50mph dual carriageway speed limit.
57% of cars were exceeding the 70mph motorway speed limit
74% of Articulated HGV were exceeding their 40mph national speed limit on single carriageway roads.
58% of cars were exceeding the 30mph urban speed limit
80% of cars were exceeding the 30mph speed limit between the hours of 6 and 7am.

Yet we only have one roads fatality per 140 million kilometres driven - and only one fatality associated with speeding in every 3.7 billion vehicle kilometres driven. Clearly when speeding is so very commonplace it is unreasonable to suggest "normal speeding" distinguishes such rare events.


Notes for editors:

DfT Report: Vehicle Speeds in Great Britain 2003, released today:


Six earlier annual copies of "VSGB" no longer available from the DfT:


Road fatality rate based on official figures. See: http://www.safespeed.org.uk/5500.xls

"Associated with speeding" proportion based on an estimate derived from DfT figures and Avon and Somerset figures. See:


About Safe Speed:

Since setting up Safe Speed in 2001, Paul Smith, 48, an advanced motorist and road safety enthusiast, and a professional engineer of 25 years UK experience, has carried out about 5,000 hours of research into the
overall effects of speed camera policy on UK road safety. We believe that this is more work in more detail than anything carried out by any other organisation. Paul's surprising conclusion is that overall speed cameras
make our roads more dangerous. Paul has identified and reported a number of major flaws and false assumptions in the claims made for speed cameras, and the whole "speed kills"  system of road safety.     

The inescapable conclusion is that we should urgently return to the excellent road safety policies that gave us in the UK the safest roads in the World in the first place.     

Safe Speed does not campaign against speed limits or appropriate enforcement of motoring laws, but argues vigorously that automated speed enforcement is neither safe nor appropriate.     


Contact Safe Speed:

web: http://www.safespeed.org.uk     
email : psmith@safespeed.org.uk    
telephone: 01862 832000 anytime.     
mobile: 07799 045553     
note: the mobile does not work well at our office. Always try land line first.     
Location: North Scotland     

We are available for press and media interviews.

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Created 22/06/2004. Last update 22/06/2004