Manchester Evening News)
New government data reveals widescale ignorance of lower and upper speed limits which make grim reading for road safety campaigners
Speeding motorists are refusing to stick to 20mph limits, putting the safety of schoolchildren at risk.
Data published by the Department for Transport (DfT) shows that a shocking 85% of all journeys made through 20mph zones last year broke the speed limit.
The limits are established in residential areas, on housing estates and around schools and aim to protect vulnerable pedestrians such as schoolchildren and the elderly.
And it’s not just the lowest limit drivers are ignoring.
In 30mph areas more than half (52%) of journeys were made at speeds over the limit, despite this being the threshold for most residential and urban areas.
The top limits are also being breached, with just under half (48%) of journeys on motorways coming in above the 70mph speed limit.
The DfT data was collected on 446.6 million journeys at 74 sites across the UK.
It also found over a third (34%) of drivers were guilty of tailgating on motorways by failing to keep the recommended two-second gap to the vehicle in front.
Highways England estimates that more than one in 10 casualties on major roads are caused by tailgaters.
The figures make grim reading for road safety campaigners and bring into sharp focus a speeding epidemic on our roads.
The introduction of 20mph zones, which are designed to be ‘self-enforcing’ due to traffic calming measures such as speed humps, chicanes and road narrowing, have become a common safety measure introduced by councils to combat speeding.
Since 2014 Manchester City Council has introduced 20mph zones on more than 1,000 roads and outside 138 schools.
The majority of motorists don’t stick to 20mph speed limits, according to DfT data But last year it put the breaks on a more widescale roll-out across the city after finding it made almost no difference to speeds or accidents.
It decided to study the impact over a longer period of time to accurately assess the benefits of 20mph zones.
Road safety charity RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) said there is strong evidence that 20mph speed limits and zones reduce the number of casualties on our roads.
A spokesman for RoSPA said: “20mph zones are very effective at preventing injuries and RoSPA would like to see their wider use in residential areas.
“20mph zones significantly decrease the risk of being injured in a collision and their greater use, especially in residential areas, would help to reduce the number of traffic injuries in the UK.
“Local Authorities are responsible for determining where 20mph zones and limit