Speed is one of the biggest killers on our roads. Use this page to access research on this deadly risk, including why some drivers speed and how they can be persuaded not to do so.
The effects of time pressure on driving performance and physical activity: a driving simulator study
Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands, 13/07/16
Real-time driver feedback technologies should use relative instead of absolute criteria to assess a driver’s reaction to time pressure.
How traffic law enforcement can contritube to safer roads
European Transport Safety Council, Brussels, 20/06/16
Speed enforcement will remain essential without structural input through road design, engineering measures and in-vehicle technology according to the ETSC.
A comprehensive analysis of factors leading to speeding offenses among large-truck drivers
Ministry of Transportation and Communications, Taiwan, 02/03/16
Factors that affect speeding offences among large-truck drivers include driver age and education, sleep quality and distance driven, but not job experience.
Support and compliance with 20 mph speed limits in Great Britain
Bristol Business School, 09/04/15
Pro-active policies of behaviour change are needed to address UK drivers breaking 20mph speed limits.
The role of preference in speed choice
University of Waikato, New Zealand, 7/3/15
Drivers’ choice of speed is dependent on whether they are driving for fuel economy or fun.
Immense changes in traffic – Considerable stability in discourses. Road speed in Danish parliamentary documents 1900–2010
Danish National Centre for Social Research, 24/2/15
The discourse in the Danish parliament on traffic speed has remained remarkably constant over the last 100 years.
The Impact of Speed Radars on Drivers’ Behavior: A Case Study in Dubai
American University of Sharjah, UAE, 2015
Speed radars keep drivers within the enforcement speed limit, but are far less effective in keeping drivers within the posted speed limit, according to a study in Dubai.
Profiling high-range speeding offenders: Investigating criminal history, personal characteristics, traffic offences, and crash history
Repeat traffic offenders have a different profile from one-time offenders, and require more tailored and innovative sanctions.
Speed cameras saved 71 lives over past three years
Department for Transport, Republic of Ireland, 06/09/14
Speed cameras on Irish roads have saved 71 lives in the past three years.
Determining optimal speed limits in traffic networks
K.N. Toosi University of Technology, Iran, 30/08/14
The optimal speed for motorway travel is 73 km/h, taking the societal costs of pollutants, fuel consumption, travel time and crashes into account.
Risky driving and recorded driving offences: A 24-year follow-up study
University of Helsinki, 27/08/14
Drivers who have previously committed traffic offences admit speeding and overtaking more often than non-offending drivers.
Are absolute and comparative judgements about road traffic-risks inherent in speeding realistic?
French drivers who speed accurately estimate the likelihood of getting caught, but underestimate their risk of being in a crash.
One in three admit driving too fast on country roads
Brake and Digby Brown, 24/07/14
One in three UK drivers (33%) admit driving too fast for safety on country roads, while 80% think traffic is too fast on some or most of these roads.
Detection of vehicle approach in the presence of additional motion and simulated observer motion at road junctions
Royal Holloway, 30/06/14
Drivers are significantly less able to estimate the oncoming speed of motorcycles than cars and larger vehicles, particularly when motorcycles are travelling at very high speeds.
Speeding in School Zones: Violation or Lapse in Prospective Memory?
Macquarie University, 02/06/14
Placing a “check your speed” sign 70m after traffic lights deterred drivers from speeding away from stops.
Risky tailgating and speeding rife on UK motorways
Brake and Direct Line, 22/05/14
Six in 10 (57%) UK drivers admit leaving less than a two-second gap between themselves and the vehicle in front on 70mph (113km/h) motorways.
Emotional states of drivers and the impact on speed, acceleration and traffic violations
Leuphana University of Lueneburg, 15/05/14
Drivers who react angrily to events on the road accelerate harder and drive at higher speeds for up to 2km (1.2 miles) past the incident.
Reduced speed threshold shows significant road safety gains
New Zealand Police, 11/04/14
Up to 51% fewer New Zealand drivers broke the 100km/h (62mph) speed limit during two months when the enforcement threshold was temporarily lowered from 10km/h (6.2mph) to 4km/h (2.5mph).
Methods for Reducing Speeds on Rural Roads
Vehicle-activated warning signs at rural junctions could reduce speeds on rural roads by 5km/h (3mph) and crashes by 70%.
Lack of knowledge about lorry laws
AA DriveTech, 13/02/14
81% of UK drivers do not know that trucks on single carriageway roads have a lower speed limit, leading to road rage and dangerous overtaking.
Effectiveness of pilot car operations in reducing speeds in a long-term rural highway work zone
Queensland University of Technology, 05/02/14
Using a pilot car to guide traffic slowly through roadworks reduced average speeds by 5-6km/h, and reduced the proportion of vehicles speeding by 12-15%
Work schedules blamed by 37% of speeding drivers
Mix Telematics, 23/01/14
63% of people who drive for work in Britain, France, Germany and Spain admit breaking speed limits, 37% due to pressure to meet schedules.
Drivers are more likely to speed in vehicles which insulate occupants from engine noise
University of Plymouth, 25/11/13
Drivers use engine noise to judge speed so are more likely to break speed limits in vehicles which insulate occupants from engine noise.
Anti-speeding adverts targeting men should focus on the risk of being banned
Queensland University of Technology, 08/11/13
Anti-speeding adverts targeting men should focus on the risk of being banned rather than getting fined or crashing.
Six in ten (63%) UK drivers admit to driving at 35mph or faster in 30mph areas
Brake and Direct Line, 02/09/13
Six in ten (63%) UK drivers admit to driving at 35mph or faster in 30mph areas.
Speeders are more deterred by enforcement than safety consequences
Speeders are more deterred by high profile enforcement including a police presence than safety consequences.
Public education resources on speeding should include other information alongside safety
Centre for Automotive Safety Research, 30/04/13
Public education resources on speeding should include information on fuel economy, travel time and environmental impacts alongside safety information.
Male drivers more likely to risk lives by overtaking blind and speeding on rural roads
Brake and Direct Line, 11/04/13
Almost one in four male drivers in the UK have overtaken blind in the last year, while 44% admit speeding at more than 60mph on rural roads.
Drivers are more likely to break the speed limit if they believe that other drivers do
National Technical University of Athens, 04/03/13
Drivers are more likely to break the speed limit if they believe that speeding is common among all drivers.
Effects of vehicle impact velocity, vehicle front-end shapes on pedestrian injury risk
Xiamen University of Technology, 19/09/12
Cars with a short front-end and a wide windshield are less likely to kill pedestrians in a crash.
RAC Report on Motoring 2012
87% of company car drivers in the UK admit to speeding on motorways compared to 61% of private drivers
Changing attitudes towards fuel consumption
ALD Automotive, 04/05/12
50% of UK business drivers have reduced their speeds to reduce fuel consumption.
Little Progress in Reducing Speeding-Related Traffic Deaths
Governors Highway Safety Association, 05/04/12
Speeding is a factor in a third of traffic deaths in the USA.
2011 Traffic Safety Culture Index
AAA Foundation, 26/03/12
Almost one in four drivers in the USA think driving 15mph over the speed limit on a motorway is acceptable.
UK drivers tailgating on motorways
More than half of UK drivers admit to driving too close to the vehicle in front on motorways.
The time-saving bias, speed choices and driving behavior
Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 20/07/11
Driver overestimation of the time-saving benefits of speeding is a better predictor of speeding behaviour than age, sex or prior speeding endorsements.
Mind the gap: training road users to use speed and distance when making decisions
University of Wellington, 17/05/11
Training road users to judge speed as well as distance can help them judge gaps in traffic.
Naturalistic observations of drivers' hands, speed and headway
The University of Canterbury, 13/04/11
Drivers who place their hands on the lower half of the wheel are more likely to speed and drive closer to the vehicle in front.
Casualty crash reductions from reducing various levels of speeding
Centre for Automotive Safety Research, 28/02/11
The most effective speed control to reduce injuries on urban streets tackles even small breaches of speeding, as small increases in speed mean significant increases in stopping distance.
Half of drivers risk deadly head-on crashes by overtaking at speed
Brake and Direct Line, 11/02/11
Almost half of all UK drivers risk deadly head-on crashes by overtaking at speed.
The safety effects of small speeding offences
SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research, 14/01/11
Travelling at just a few kilometers over the speed limit causes deaths and injuries.
Motorway speeders clogging up national routes and risking lives
Six in ten UK drivers admit to driving at 80mph+ on motorways, with one in four doing so at least once a week.
Examining psychosocial influences on speeding in Australian and Chinese contexts
Queensland University of Technology, 24/09/10
Regular speeders claim they do it in order to remain alert and reduce boredom.
Road Safety Analytical Report
The European Commission, 30/07/10
78% of EU citizens surveyed think speeding is a major problem compared with 94% agreeing drink driving is a major problem.
Road Statistics 2009: Traffic, Speeds and Congestion
Department for Transport, UK, 24/06/10
In 2009, 46% of heavy goods vehicles, 50% of motorcycles and 48% of cars exceeded the speed limit on 30mph roads.
Department for Transport Road Safety Research Report No.93
Department for Transport, UK, 12/05/09
Out of 1,005 drivers surveyed 17% said they enjoy driving fast.
The Department for Transport Road Safety Research Report No. 92
Department for Transport, UK, 12/05/09
Young drivers, drivers who are angry and drivers in a hurry are more likely to speed.