Most drivers ignore new 20mph speed limits, study finds.

The majority of vehicles break the speed limit in new 20mph zones in residential areas, a Government commissioned study has found.

Just 47% of motorists comply with the limit on roads near houses, rising to 65% in city centres.

Although a “substantial proportion” of people are speeding in those areas, there has been an increase in drivers travelling at less than 24mph, which suggests “faster drivers have slowed down”.

The study also found there is “insufficient evidence” that the lower speed limit has led to a significant reduction in crashes and casualties in residential areas.

Journey times are estimated to have increased by 3% in residential areas and 5% in city centres, adding less than a minute to a five-mile trip.

The Government commissioned consultancy firm Atkins to examine vehicle speeds in 12 areas where the limit was reduced from 30mph to 20mph.

There has been a substantial growth in the number of 20mph limits following the Department for Transport’s decision in 2013 to encourage local authorities to consider the measure in a bid to reduce casualties and boost walking and cycling.

AA president Edmund King said speed limits must reflect the nature of roads so drivers can “easily understand why the limit is set”.

He went on: “We need more variable speed limits linked to time of day. For example, in the USA most drivers slow down outside schools with flashing yellow lights but not at 3am when there are no children around.

“The research suggests blanket 20mph zones dilute the speed limit’s effectiveness and compliance.”

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at road safety charity Brake, said: “Breaking the speed limit is breaking the law and those who do so should be punished.

“We must make a success of 20mph limits but to do so we need more enforcement which is delivered consistently across the country.”


Four in five drivers put themselves and others in danger by being distracted at wheel, study claims

A quarter of motorists believe they have had near-miss because they were not concentrating while driving..


Motorists have admitted to taking their eyes off the road to stroke pets, use their phones and attempt sex acts on their other half, a study has revealed.

Research showed four in five drivers had potentially put themselves and others in danger including by putting on make-up while driving.

One in four had taken a phone call in the driver’s seat, and 14 per cent have tapped out a text message.

Another 8 per cent of drivers have tried to operate the pedals using different feet, while 6 per cent have attempted a sexual act on their partner while travelling from A to B, researchers found.

Thirty-five per cent have taken their eyes off the road to pass something to the passenger in the back seat, and 20 per cent have kept their foot on the accelerator while checking a map on their phone.

Holger G Weiss, chief executive of German Autolabs, which commissioned the study, said: “Driving is a somewhat mundane part of everyday life for millions of Brits across the country, and this chore-like familiarity can lead us to grow complacent to the potential risks around us.

Text messages of death


These daunting final text messages of death crash drivers will make you think twice about using your phone while driving

Using giant mobile phones, a chilling campaign is displaying the heart-breaking final text messages sent by motorists just moments before they were killed.

THESE chilling final text messages written by drivers killed on the road will make you think twice about ever touching your phone in the car again.

A new hard-hitting campaign has been launched to warn motorists of the dangers of texting and driving.

Part of the Northumbria Safer Roads Initiative “Road Respect”, the campaign shows the heart-breaking final text messages sent by drivers moments before they were killed.

Travelling around England’s north-east, the Last Text Tour uses giant mobile phones placed in city centres to display the thought-provoking texts.

Most recently seen in Sunderland, the six-foot tall phones also show a description of what happened on the road the day the driver passed away.

One of the screens reads: “Sounds good my man, see ya soon.”

While another says: “Thanks mate, I owe you a drink or two.”

One driver said “the happy song makes me HAPPY” just moments before they were involved in a fatal accident.

And another even wrote of the dangers of using their phone: “I can’t discuss this matter right now. Driving and facebooking is not safe!”

Tragically, the recipients of the messages never got to see the sender alive again.

According to the Department for Transport, the number of drivers killed or injured where mobile phone use contributed to an accident has risen significantly in recent years.

And on top of the obvious safety risks, drivers face tough penalties if caught using their mobile phones while in the driver’s seat.

Since new laws came in last year, mobile phone convictions for drivers carry a £200 fine and six penalty points.

When is it legal to use a mobile phone behind the wheel?

Rob Gwynne-Thomas of the South Wales Police Road Policing Unit explains when you can and can’t use a phone in the car:

  • Skipping music, declining a call or unlocking your phone:Illegal. Any physical interaction with your phone will be classified as “using it”.
  • Programming your phone as a sat nav: Illegal. You must set the route before you turn on your car and set off on your journey.
  • Using hands-free/Bluetooth kits: Legal. As long as you aren’t distracted from focusing on the road.
  • Using your phone when the car is stationary. e.g. in traffic or at a red light: Illegal. While the engine is on and you are in control of the car, it is illegal to touch your phone.
  • Sitting in the driver’s seat with the engine switched off: Legal. As long as you are pulled over to the side of the road in a safe location.
  • Using voice commands. e.g. Siri: Legal. But only if you don’t need to touch your phone at all to do so, and aren’t distracted from driving. If you have to pick up your phone to enable voice commands, it is illegal.

Learner drivers on motorways from 4 June 2018

At the moment, you can only have motorway lessons after you’ve passed your driving test. Some newly-qualified drivers take lessons through the voluntary Pass Plus scheme.

How the change will work

Learner drivers will need to be:

  • accompanied by an approved driving instructor
  • driving a car fitted with dual controls

Any motorways lessons will be voluntary. It will be up to the driving instructor to decide when the learner driver is competent enough for them.

Until the law changes, it’s still illegal for a learner driver to drive on a motorway.

The change only applies to learner drivers of cars. Learner motorcyclists won’t be allowed on motorways.

Trainee driving instructors won’t be allowed to take learner drivers on the motorway.

Motorway driving isn’t being introduced to the driving test as part of this change.

Making sure road users are ready for the change

The change is being well-publicised so that:

  • driving instructors and learner drivers are prepared
  • other road users know what to expect

The Highway Code rules on motorways will be updated.

Driving near learner drivers on the motorway

As with any vehicle on the motorway, keep a safe distance from a learner driver in front of you. Increase the gap on wet or icy roads, or in fog.

You should always be patient with learner drivers. They may not be so skilful at anticipating and responding to events.

Driving instructor vehicles and training

Driving instructors can decide if they want to use a driving school rooftop box during motorway lessons, based on its instructions.

The car will need to display L plates on the front and rear if the rooftop box is removed.