Friday 6 December 2019

We're ignoring the speed limit everywhere we drive - survey

Drivers breaking limits all over the place - and especially in 50kmh/60kmh areas

Stock photo: PA
Stock photo: PA

RSA Expert

Every two years the RSA conducts a survey to determine the level of speeding on our roads. It's called the 'Free Speeds' survey.

'Free Speed' is the velocity at which drivers travel when completely unconstrained by road geometry, weather or traffic conditions.

So the conditions are ideal to either obey the speed limit or exceed it.

The results of the most recent survey are a cause for concern. The survey was carried out this time last year. It involved monitoring the speed of more than 16,500 vehicles. Surveying took place roadside at 90 sites; 38 were urban (60kmh or less) and 52 rural (80kmh or more). The speeds of 12,240 cars, 2,316 rigid goods vehicles and 1,453 semi-articulated vehicles were observed, as well as smaller numbers of other vehicles.

Please log in or register with Independent.ie for free access to this article.

Log In

Based on the results, speeding is an issue on all road types, in all speed limit areas, and across all vehicle types. Certain areas are a concern: drivers in urban 50kmh and 60kmh zones and larger vehicles (trucks, buses) on rural 100kmh roads.

The main findings show the percentage of car drivers breaking the limit on urban roads was 52pc. While this is a 5pc drop on the 2016 survey it still means more than 50pc of drivers are speeding on urban roads. When residential roads are excluded, this rises to 65pc for all other urban national routes.

The picture gets worse for higher categories of vehicle: 58pc of rigid trucks on all urban roads were speeding (3pc up on 2016). Almost three quarters (72pc) of articulated trucks monitored on urban roads were speeding (a big increase on 55pc in 2016).

Drilling down into the survey results for urban areas: 789 cars were speeding in urban national roads with a speed limit of 50kmh. Of these, 11 were above 90kmh with one at 106kmh. That's more than twice the posted limit in an area that would have heavy use by pedestrians and cyclists.

Shockingly, at the urban national 30kmh location that was monitored, only three out of the 140 cars sampled were travelling at, or under, the 30kmh limit. At one of the urban residential locations, which is a 30kmh zone, we recorded a vehicle travelling at 67kmh.

Looking at the results on rural roads, the percentage of car drivers breaking the speed limit was 27pc - a 5pc increase on 2016.

Almost a quarter of cars monitored on motorways were speeding. There was a 10pc increase in the number of cars speeding on dual carriageways, which have a 100kmh limit - from 34pc in 2016 to 44pc in 2018.

On regional 80kmh roads, the percentage of cars speeding increased from 39pc in 2016 to 50pc in 2018.

The pattern of increased speeding by goods vehicles on urban roads was repeated on rural roads, with 41pc of all rigid trucks observed speeding compared with 36pc in 2016; 44pc of articulated trucks were speeding on rural roads - up 6pc on the previous survey.

There were some standout cases on rural roads.

One driver was travelling at 118kmh on an 80kmh local road, which is one and a half times the limit.

Thirty cars were driving above 120kmh on dual carriageways with a 100kmh limit, with the highest speed recorded at 147kmh.

Four cars were driving above 150kmh on motorways/dual carriageway with 120kmh speed limits, with the highest speed recorded at 168kmh.

Articulated trucks on dual carriageways exceeded the limit by the greatest margin, with more than one-in-five travelling at 11-20kmh over the limit.

Indo Motoring

Also in Life