Is 20mph Speed Limit Too Low?

Sat 25th Jun 2022

New research has revealed that almost nine out of ten drivers admit to regularly breaking the speed limit in 20mph residential areas, so should the government be looking at other ways of reducing speeds?

Data published by the Department for Transport, based on last year’s figures also shows that 51 of drivers still go past the limit in 30mph zones. Though the impact of fewer cars on the roads saw speeding fall significantly during Covid lockdown, this doesn’t appear to have had any long term affect on speeding. You still as likely to encounter a speeding driver on the motorway, with 48 per cent breaking the limit. 

The likelihood of breaking the limit seems to depend on the number of lanes available to the driver, while only one per cent of drivers would drive 10mph over the limit on single carriageways, 5-6 per cent would do the same on other roads, while 10 per cent would do it on the motorway.

The survey also asked many drivers why they chose to break the speed limit, and interestingly, those who regularly broke the 20mph limit said that the restriction was ‘inappropriate’. 

Responding to the new data, Greg Wilson, Founder of leading car insurance comparison platform, says: “It’s staggering to realise that half of all motorists are still breaking the speed limit in residential 30mph zones and there is no encouraging longer-term downward trend. Residential areas are one of the areas drivers should be most cautious, given the high volume of pedestrians and children playing, so it's worrying that this is still an issue.

“While many drivers might think it’s a minor fault breaking the speed limit by a small margin, the law takes a different view. There’s no ‘look the other way’ if motorists go over a speed limit by less than 10 percent – that’s a myth.”