‘Join the conversation and talk about speed’

Road deaths and serious injuries caused by driver speed rose significantly last year, analysis of DfT data published to mark the start of Road Safety Week 2023 shows.

The latest road casualty statistics show that in 2022, 1,766 people died on UK roads, a 10% increase on figures from the previous year.

Brake’s analysis found that in the same period, road deaths caused by drivers exceeding the speed limit rose by 20%.

Brake has also published the findings of a public opinion survey, which asked more than 2,000 drivers about their 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. Despite this, more than a third (34%) of those surveyed said they sometimes or often drive faster than the speed limit, and 40% think that driving just a little bit over the speed limit doesn’t matter. 

Two-fifths (39%) of drivers surveyed also agreed that the default speed limit on roads in built-up areas should be lowered from 30mph to 20mph.

Brake is releasing the survey results at the start of its biggest annual road safety campaign, Road Safety Week, which runs from 19-25 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.

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 by organising local activities, sharing important road safety messages. 

Brake has provided free resources to everyone taking part in Road Safety Week, including campaigns toolkits, lesson plans and assemblies for school, as well as factsheets, films, posters and more for businesses, local communities and campaign groups.

Ross Moorlock, interim CEO at Brake, said: “Road death is sudden. It’s traumatic. It sends shockwaves across families, schools, workplaces and communities. This year, we have already supported more than 1,500 people affected by road crashes through our National Road Victim Service.

“Today, five people will be killed on our roads. And tomorrow, another five won’t make it home to their families. And so on, and so on, until we all say ‘Enough!’ and start taking responsibility for each other’s safety on the road.

“The speed we choose to drive at can mean the difference between life and death. Our speed dictates whether we can stop in time to avoid a crash, and the force of impact if we can’t stop. This Road Safety Week, whoever you are, and however you travel, I urge you to join the conversation and talk about speed. 

“Please talk to as many people as you can to find out why, when five people die on our roads every day, so many of us still choose to drive too fast.”

20 November 2023