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Speeding must become as socially unacceptable as drink driving, says IAM

Excessive speeding is now seen as acceptable on the motorway and on residential roads by many drivers – prompting renewed calls for major action.

Almost half (46%) of drivers believe it’s okay to drive at 80mph on motorways and a quarter are willing to go faster than this

More than one in 10 motorists (14%) admit to having driven at more than 10% over the speed limit in residential areas while 22% think it is acceptable to drive 5mph over the speed limit on a residential street. And one in 10 of the 2,000 people surveyed by IAM RoadSmart thought it was even acceptable to go over the speed limit near a school.

The research by the road safety charity showed just how much of a threat speeding is regarded as; 89% of people believe speeding in a residential area is as much of a threat to their safety as driving under the influence of illegal drugs

The study also found almost half (46%) believe it’s okay to drive at 80mph on motorways and a quarter are willing to go faster than this, despite the risks involved.

Neil Greig, policy and research director for IAM RoadSmart, said: “The results of this survey are deeply concerning. Speeding consistently causes more than 4,400 casualties on UK roads each year. That’s an average of 12 people a day killed or injured in some form. We need a fundamental shift in attitudes towards speeding so that it becomes as socially unacceptable as drink and drug driving – where public opinion has changed over previous decades.”

Greig continued: “There is a slight glimmer of hope as, overall, acceptability of driving 10 miles per hour over the speed limit on a motorway has dropped by around 10% since 2016, but there is still a long, long way to go.”

He also said that attitudes towards tackling urban speeding are much more positive and support for measures such as speed cameras around schools was very high at 82%.

Overall, however, opinions on 20mph as the new urban limit are still finely balanced with 53% for and 47% against – which the IAM shows much more work is needed to ensure drivers know the danger of speeding.

The research also showed that drivers continue to have a lower opinion of other people’s driving behaviour than they do of their own; a long-standing behaviour trait that also needs challenging.

“There needs to be much greater acceptance of the fact we can all improve our standards of driving behaviour and take action whenever we are on the road to improve road safety,” Greig added.

To find read the IAM’s full report, click here.

For more of the latest industry news, click here.

Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.