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The Nation’s Speed Date

Speeding is a common occurrence, with nearly 50% of motorists exceeding the limit across all road types. But as well as being dangerous it can also be costly, and MoneySuperMarket enquiry data suggests drivers with convictions pay an average of £72 more a year than those without.

This report looks at speed trends in the UK from Department for Transport data, including the times when people are most likely to exceed the limit, as well as the rate of speeding across different types of roads. We also analysed driving conviction rates and asked drivers for the reasons why they speed. The report will provide guidance on how your car insurance may be affected if you are caught speeding.

Percentage of Brits caught speeding

Our consumer research shows that almost half of drivers (47%) have been caught exceeding the speed limit, with two-thirds admitting to speeding occasionally. Additionally, 5% admit to speeding every time they get behind the wheel, while over a quarter (28%) say they consistently abide by the speed limit, having never exceeded the maximum.

 

Speeding Trends

The early hours of the morning – between 4am-6am to be precise – is the most common time of day for speeding, with Sunday proving the most popular day to go over the limit.

Department for Transport figures reveal that 63% of all vehicles on the road at 4am are driving too quickly, and with the data suggesting weekends are commonplace for speeding, this suggests drivers are looking to take advantage of emptier roads.

Percentage of cars speeding by days of the week

Percentage of cars speeding by hours of the day

More men than women admit to regularly speeding, with over half of men (54%) saying they have been caught, compared to just 40% of women.

When applying for insurance, drivers have to provide details of any driving convictions. Looking at insurance enquiries made on the MoneySuperMarket website, we found that people in Yorkshire have the highest rate of convictions (10%) in the whole of the UK. At the other end of the scale, drivers in London and Northern Ireland are most likely to abide by driving laws.

Driving convictions by region

Speeding on Different Types of Road

According to Department for Transport data, the vast majority of drivers exceed the speed limit on roads with a 20mph restriction (86%), while less than half (46%) go over the 70mph speed limit on motorways, and only 9% of drivers go above the legal limit of 60mph on single carriageways.

Speeding on different types of road

However, when we asked people how much they speed on different types of roads, drivers admitted to speeding most on motorways and dual carriageways, which is in contrast to the government statistics.

Nearly three quarters of respondents (71%) admitted to exceeding the speed limit on motorways, while 57% said they did so on 20mph hour roads. The discrepancies between these results and the government figures suggests that drivers may not be as aware of their speed as they think, which is even more reason to pay close attention on the roads.

Average speed in excess of speed limit

Reasons for Speeding

When we asked drivers why they break the speeding laws, the most common reason was not realising that they have gone over the limit (42%), while 17% also said they speed through habit. In terms of deliberate cases of speeding, people blamed being late as their main reason for going quicker than they should do (41%).

Reasons why Brits speed

The data also suggests that younger drivers tend to exceed the limit because they are impatient, with 23% of 25-34-year olds stating this reason (more than any other age group) as well as 20% of 18-24-year olds. By contrast, only 11% of those aged 45-54 and 10% of people over the age of 55 stated this reason.

In addition, 15% of Brits say they are a confident driver who “can handle driving over the speed limit” – an opinion most commonly held by 18-24-year old males.

Speeding Penalties

Speeding penalties vary depending on how the driver is caught. If you are pulled over by the police, you may get a verbal warning, a fixed penalty notice (FPN) or be ordered to go to court.

If you are caught by a speed camera, you will receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution and a Section 172 notice. You’ll need to return the Section 172 notice within 28 days and you will then receive either a fixed penalty notice or a letter telling you to go to court.

A fixed penalty notice will tell you how many points you will receive on your licence and how much you will need to pay as a fine.

Department for Transport figures show that there were 2,214 fixed penalty notices sent to drivers caught speeding by cameras in 2017. Those who were caught speeding most commonly cited receiving three points on their licence (59%). Some also received a fine (56%) while many were also sent on a speed awareness course (41%).

At the other end of the scale, only 4% of UK drivers were banned from driving, with the largest percentage aged 18-24.

Receiving a speeding ticket can be stressful so it’s important to talk to your family and work out how you will pay the fine.

Speeding sanctions

How does speeding affect insurance premiums?

Speeding can also have an impact on how much you pay for your car insurance.  

Insurers' data suggests that drivers with speeding offences are more likely to make a claim, so many increase their premiums to reflect this risk. Some insurers are lenient for first offences while others refuse to cover drivers with any points on their licence.

Drivers looking for insurance who have had a speeding conviction within the five years prior to the enquiry date could see an average premium increase of 14%.

How does speeding affect insurance premiums

How to keep costs down if you have a speeding conviction

If you’ve been caught speeding only slightly over the limit, you may be able to take part in a speed awareness course. This will allow you to avoid penalty points on your licence and won’t affect your insurance.  

However, there are other practical steps you can take to help lower the cost of your insurance if you have a speeding conviction:

Consider telematics: taking out a telematics or a ‘black box’ insurance policy means a small device is installed in your car to monitor your driving habits, including speed. This is a great way to prove to your insurer that you drive safely, and also helps you monitor your speed, which can help lower your premiums

Try to drive less: as this reduces the risk of an accident, it can help bring the cost of insurance down

Secure your car: keep your vehicle in a garage if possible and make sure it’s fitted with an approved alarm and immobiliser

Increase your excess: this is the amount you pay towards the cost of any claim you make and increasing it can lower premiums – just make sure you can still afford to pay it

Whatever the cost of your insurance, there are often opportunities to improve your quote by shopping around and looking for the best deals.

You can find out how penalty points and speeding tickets affect car insurance here, or check out our guide for convicted drivers here.

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Sources & Methodology

Government data sourced from:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/speeds-statistics/

Consumer survey conducted by Research Without Barriers between 7th-11th August.

Conviction rates sourced from MoneySuperMarket car insurance enquiries between 1st July 2017 - 31st July 2019.

Data on impact of convictions on insurance costs sourced from MoneySuperMarket car insurance enquiries in July 2019.

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