One in ten drivers on UK motorways are breaking the law by travelling at speeds in excess of 80mph, according to new research.  

The latest speed compliance figures analysed by experts from reveals that many motorists pay little attention to the 70mph limit when travelling on the motorway. 

Researchers looked at newly published figures from the Department for Transport and revealed that motorists were more likely to speed on the motorways than any other type of road. 

Not all care free

Not every driver likes to speed though and the data also shows that a super cautious two per cent of drivers prefer to stay in the slow lane at speeds below 50mph. 

The proportion of car drivers exceeding the speed limit by 10mph or more was 10% on motorways, five per cent on 30mph roads and just one per cent on 60mph roads.

Whereas 1 in 50 car drivers drove at under 50mph on motorways, 1 in 30 drove at under 20mph on 30mph roads and 1 in 100 drove at under 30mph on 60mph roads.

Carried away

In 2021, the average car speeds, under free flow conditions, was just under the speed limit on motorways (69mph), slightly above the speed limit for 30mph roads (31mph) and under the speed limit on 60mph roads (51mph).

A spokesperson for said: “What these figures show is that there is still a relatively high percentage of drivers that get a bit carried away when driving on the motorway.

“Anywhere between 50mph and 70 mph is acceptable on the motorway, but any slower could mean you become a danger to yourself and those around you, as your chances of becoming involved in an accident rises.

“We see these extremes of free flow speed on motorways where 1 in 10 drivers will exceed the speed limit by 10mph or more and 1 in 50 will drive at under 50mph.

“With average speeds being right at the speed limit on motorways and 30mph roads, it is important that drivers give themselves enough leeway to react to the road conditions and other drivers.

“Allowing plenty of time to get to your destination, planning your journey, and making a habit of checking the speedometer will help drivers to avoid driving at speeds outside of an acceptable range.”

Abiding by the law

Overall, speed limit compliance in 2021 was slightly higher than in 2020 when traffic levels were significantly lower due to the pandemic, returning to levels of compliance previously seen in the eight years leading up to the pandemic.

The free flow speeds analysed by are not representative of the level of speeding across the whole road network, which is expected to be lower because of traffic volumes and other encumberments.

To help drivers, many vehicles now have technology to help motorists to drive at acceptable speeds in comfort.  

You can see the full official speeding stats here.