Why is it important to stay within the speed limit?
Each year, over 220 people are killed in crashes involving someone exceeding the speed limit. In many circumstances, driving at the speed limit can be too fast: over 200 people are killed when someone was travelling within the speed limit but too fast for the conditions.
Drivers and riders who are travelling at inappropriate speeds are more likely to crash and their higher speed means that the crash will cause more severe injuries, to themselves or to other road users. Inappropriate speed also magnifies other driver errors, such as driving too close or driving when fatigued or distracted, multiplying the chances of these types of driving causing an accident.
Higher speeds mean that drivers have less time to identify and react to what is happening around them, and it takes longer for the vehicle to stop. It removes the driver’s safety margin and turns near misses into crashes.
Drivers who speed are more likely to be involved in collisions. They are also more likely to commit other driving violations, such as red-light running and driving too close.
Between 30 and 40mph, the risk of a pedestrian being fatally injured when hit by a car increases significantly. A pedestrian who is hit at 40mph is between three-and-a-half to five-and-a-half times more likely to be killed than a pedestrian who is hit at 30mph.
Recent research suggests there are three types of drivers:
- Compliant drivers who usually observe speed limits (52% of drivers)
- Moderate speeders who occasionally exceed speed limits (33% of drivers)
- Excessive speeders who routinely exceed speed limits (14% of drivers)
However, even the moderate speeders exceed 30 mph limits fairly regularly. Excessive speeders normally ignore the 30 mph limit, and often by a wide margin.
Read RoSPA's factsheet on inappropriate speed here: http://www.rospa.com/roadsafety/adviceandinformation/driving/speed/inappropriate-speed.aspx
You can find out how to make sure you stay within speed limits at http://www.rospa.com/roadsafety/adviceandinformation/driving/speed/toptentips/default.aspx
Date Updated/Created: 27/06/2012
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