More than half of drivers exceed 30mph limit

Over half of all drivers in the UK break 30mph speed limits, according to figures from the Department for Transport (DfT).

Data collected from the DfT's Automatic Traffic Counters in 2018 reveals that 52% of cars on the road exceeded 30mph limits in free-flowing conditions. Meanwhile, 46% exceeded limits on motorways and 10% did so on single carriageway 60mph roads.

A slightly higher percentage of vans broke the speed limits -- 53% on 30mph roads and 47% on motorways.

Motorists find it particularly hard to stick to 20mph limits, the figures show.

More than four-fifths (87%) of the vehicles observed at 20mph sites across the UK were found to be travelling faster than the speed limit, with nearly a quarter (22%) recorded at speeds in excess of 30mph.

The research also included HGV speeds. Their speed limit on motorways is 60mph and they are artificially limited to 56mph -- resulting in just 1% of lorries exceeding that. However, 42% were found to be breaking the limit on 30mph roads and 20% on national speed limit single carriageways.

Overall, motorcycles had the highest proportion of speeders -- 53% exceeded the limit on 30mph roads and on motorways, and 30% on national speed limit roads.

Speaking to Auto Express, AA president Edmund King said: "More than half of drivers exceeding 30mph speed limits on local roads is extremely concerning. Speed kills, so drivers should remember that lower limits on residential roads are there for a very important reason."

He called on the next prime minister to reverse cuts in traffic police, "who not only act as a deterrent but also catch and penalise those with a heavy right foot".

The DfT also highlighted the problem of tailgating, with the data revealing that just over a quarter (26%) of car and van drivers left a gap of less than two seconds between themselves and the vehicle in front, increasing the chances of having a collision.

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