To drive fast and to drive dangerously
Road deaths and serious injuries caused by driver speed rose significantly last year.
This is the conclusion of analysis of government road casualty data by Brake, the road safety charity.
It comes as Road Safety Week 2023 launches for a week of road safety initiatives and awareness activities in communities around the country.
Put your foot down
The latest road casualty statistics show that, in 2022, 1,766 people died on UK roads (1,711 in Britain, 55 in Northern Ireland). This represents a 10% increase on figures from the previous year .
Brake’s analysis also finds that in the same period, road deaths caused by drivers exceeding the speed limit rose by 20%.
As part of the build up to this year’s Road Safety Week, that focuses on speed, it carried out a public opinion survey. This looked at and questioned drivers about their driving habits and attitudes to speed and speed limits.
The survey found that 92% of drivers think that speed limits are essential for the safety of our roads. However, despite this, more than a third (34%) of those surveyed said they sometimes or often drive faster than the speed limit. For 40%, they think that driving just a little bit over the speed limit doesn’t really matter.
When it comes to 20mph limits and zones, two-fifths (39%) of drivers surveyed agreed that the default speed limit on roads in built-up areas should be lowered from 30mph to 20mph. This supports changes that have already taken place across the UK, including Wales’s well publicised lowering of default speed limit in urban areas from 30mph to 20mph. While it is found to reduce crashes, it improves considerably the damage and casualty severity in incidents, while also improving the general environment and pollution levels.
Local and national debate
Brake’s annual road safety campaign, Road Safety Week, runs from 19 to 25 November. The charity is calling on everyone to join a national conversation about speed, to raise awareness of the dangers of excessive and inappropriate speed, and challenge why so many people still think it is acceptable to drive faster than the speed limit.
Beginning on Sunday 19 November to coincide with the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, Brake has worked with local councils across the UK to get public buildings and other landmarks lit up in yellow, to show support for road victims.
This year, more than 3,400 schools, communities, organisations and emergency services, together representing more than 17 million people, have signed up to take part in Road Safety Week. Local activities share important road safety messages and pose the question: If five people die on UK roads every day, why do we still think it is ok to speed?
Brake has provides free resources to everyone taking part in Road Safety Week. These include campaigns toolkits, lesson plans and assemblies for school, as well as factsheets, films, posters and more for businesses, local communities and campaign groups.
Find out more here.