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Department for Transport (National) (DFT) Vehicle speeds in Great Britain: 2006

13 April 2007

The Department for Transport today published National Statistics of vehicle speeds in Great Britain in 2006. These statistics relate to the speeds at which drivers travel in free-flow conditions across the road network.

  • The level of cars exceeding the speed limit varies considerably between road types. The highest level of cars travelling over the speed limit occurred on motorways (54 per cent). This compares to 56 per cent in 2005. The lowest level was on single carriageway roads, with a speed limit of 60 mph, where 11 per cent of cars were driven over the speed limit.
  • In 2006 nearly half (49 per cent) of all car drivers on 30 mph built-up roads exceeded the speed limit compared with 65 per cent in 2001 and 72 per cent ten years earlier in 1996. On 40 mph built-up roads, 28 per cent of car drivers exceeded the speed limit, this is an increase of 4 per cent on the 2005 level.
  • The percentage of motorcyclists who exceeded the speed limit was similar to that of car drivers. However, the percentage of motorcycles travelling at more than 10mph above the speed limit on all road types was higher. Twenty five per cent of motorcyclists travelled at 80 mph or more on motorways compared with 17 per cent of car drivers. This compared with 27 per cent and 19 per cent respectively in 2005.
  • On major, non-built-up single carriageway roads, 76 per cent of articulated heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) exceeded their 40 mph limit (28 per cent by more than 10 mph). The average speed recorded for articulated HGVs on these roads was 46 mph, just 2 mph less than the average speed of cars (48 mph), for which the limit on these roads is 60 mph.
  • The survey also reveals a high incidence of speeding by HGVs on 30 mph roads: 44 per cent of 2-axle HGVs exceeded the speed limit, 15 per cent by more than 5 mph. This compares with 46 per cent and 18 per cent respectively in 2005. The statistics are available here.