Speeding on rural roads capped at 60 mph has reached the highest level in six years, a survey suggests.
Nearly half (48%) of respondents to a survey of 3,102 UK drivers commissioned by the RAC for its 2022 Motoring Report said they had driven faster than the speed limit on Britain’s most dangerous roads in the 12 previous months.
That’s an increase from 44% in 2021 and equals the highest figure recorded in the annual survey, in 2016.
In the most recent survey, 8% of drivers said they frequently exceeded the 60 mph speed limit on rural roads, while 40% said they did occasionally.
The most common reason drivers gave for exceeding the limit on these roads was that they were traveling at the same speed as other motorists (32%).
Figures from the Department for Transport show that 514 people were killed in accidents on roads in undeveloped areas with a 60mph limit in Britain in 2021.
That was more than all other types of roads, including expressways.
RAC road safety spokesman Simon Williams said: “The recent increase in the proportion of drivers admitting to speeding on 60mph rural roads is extremely worrying as more people are killed each year in crashes on these roads than in any other.
“It is even more worrying that this number has now returned to the all-time high of 48%.
“While the number of deaths on our roads is no longer declining, we certainly don’t want to see an increase.
“We believe that the Government should address the problem of fatalities on 60mph rural roads by advising road authorities to reduce the limits on the most dangerous sections to more appropriate levels.
“This is something half of the drivers (48%) surveyed for the RAC Motorsport Report would like to see, with only a quarter (24%) disagreeing.”
Director of the AA Charitable Trust, Edmund King, said: “Drivers should be aware of the dangers on country roads – slow vehicles, mud on the road, a greater chance of cyclists, horseback riders and walkers, sharp bends and blind corners. and adjust your speed accordingly.
“The varied nature of rural roads means that it is very difficult to set a speed limit that is appropriate everywhere, but drivers should know that the speed limit is a limit, not a sign that 60 mph is always an option. safe speed. Often it isn’t.”
Duncan Dollimore, director of campaigns for the charity Cycling UK, said cyclists were “more at risk” on country roads than urban ones.
He added: “Addressing the risks on rural roads has to involve serious discussion about lowering speed limits, particularly the default speed of 60 mph, which is clearly inadequate, unsafe and contributes to road fatalities in many minor rural roads.
A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “While we have some of the safest roads in the world, we are committed to reducing road crashes by tackling dangerous driving. We will always consider what additional measures can be explored to effectively improve road safety.
“Breaking the speed limit is illegal and puts lives at risk. Our next THINK! it will help address dangerous driving on rural roads and builds on the success of our previous campaigns in influencing attitudes towards speeding among young drivers.”
– The RAC commissioned the research agency Online95 to carry out the survey between April 28 and May 13 of last year.