The Speed Read: Vehicle Speed Compliance Statistics Released for 2017

The Department for Transport (“DfT”) has recently released the statistics for vehicle speed compliance in Great Britain for 2017. Transport and Regulatory Solicitor, Nathan Taylor-Allkins, looks at the most recent data and the trends that are identified…

The Statistical Release is always an interesting read, particularly given the regularity with which speed compliance (or lack thereof) features in the cases that my colleagues and I in our Transport department advise on, whether that be for a relatively minor speeding offence in a car or a death caused by a heavy goods vehicle or anything in between.

It is important to bear in mind that the figures are based on estimates of compliance with speed limits in free flowing conditions on roads in Great Britain. However, according to the DfT, the following conclusions can be drawn:

Cars:

  • 48% of cars exceeded the speed limit on motorways in 2017, with 12% exceeding the speed limit by more than 10mph;
  • Only 9% of cars exceeded the speed limit on single carriageway roads (60mph limit);
  • 52% of cars exceeded the speed limit on 30mph roads with 6% exceeding the speed limit by 10mph or more; and
  • 86% of cars exceeded the speed limit on 20mph roads.

Articulated HGVs:

  • 1% of Articulated HGVs exceeded the speed limit on motorways in 2017;
  • 20% exceeded the speed limit on single carriageway roads (60mph limit); and
  • 42% exceeded the speed limit on 30mph roads.

Rigid HGVS:

  • 37% of Rigid HGVs exceeded the speed limit on single carriageway roads (60mph limit);
  • 50% exceeded the speed limit on 30mph roads; and
  • 75% exceeded the speed on 20mph roads.

Excuses:

The Top 5 reasons for speeding (as derived from the RAC Report on Motoring, 2017) were:

  • The speed limit is inappropriate for the road;
  • It is sometimes safe to go faster than the applicable speed limit / no other vehicles or pedestrians on the road;
  • I drive according to the speed of other road users;
  • I don’t look at the speedometer frequently enough;
  • I feel pressured by other drivers behind me.

Fines and convictions:

  • There were 1.97 million Fixed Penalty Notices issued for speed limit offences in 2016 (2017 statistics not yet released);
  • There was a 91% conviction rate for those prosecuted for speed limit offences in England and Wales in 2017;
  • 27% of motoring convictions in 2017 were for speed limit offences; and
  • 1.23 million drivers attended a speed awareness course in 2017.

The release of such data provides the perfect opportunity to reflect on and review your own driving habits. Importantly, for those in the professional haulage industry or who are responsible for ensuring compliance (e.g. Transport Managers), these statistics can be disseminated and used as a reminder to drivers of their obligations to adhere to the speed limits, and of any disciplinary procedures that could follow for non-compliance (notwithstanding potential criminal proceedings and professional disciplinary hearings with the Traffic Commissioner).

The Statistics can be found here.

To discuss this or any other issue, please contact a member of our Road Transport team.