A new study by More Than Car Insurance, which questioned 2,000 drivers, has revealed that a third of drivers don't know the meaning of basic road signs such as 'national speed limit' and 'slippery road ahead'.
According to the research results, one in seven of those asked mistook the 'slippery road ahead' sign to mean 'paint in the road', while 34% of drivers didn't know what the 'national speed limit' sign looked like.
A fifth of all drivers have received penalty points in the last 10 years as a result of driving too fast, with 13% of those accumulating nine points or more in this time, according to official police figures from 29 forces. Official DVLA figures revealed that 1,340,680 drivers either received penalty points or were banned from driving altogether in the past year. Out of these, 818,768 drivers were penalised for speeding offences in the past 12 months, equivalent to 2,243 a day.
One in every three drivers questioned admitted to always driving over the speed limit in the 30mph zone, on average sitting at speeds of 38mph. Meanwhile motorways were the worst roads for speeding as a shocking 43% of drivers, an estimated 15.6million drivers in the UK, admitted to averaging 81mph in a 70mph zone.
Road safety charities claim that the research suggests we are a nation obsessed with speeding and the results highlights that penalty points are seen as nothing more than the 'lesser of two evils' by many drivers, with 28% of those surveyed confessing that they would rather pick up points and a fine than attend a police speed awareness course to learn about the dangers of speeding.
The results of this behaviour are clear. Just under a quarter of drivers questioned have either crashed their car or had a near-miss as a result of driving too fast, and Government figures show that there are an average of 13 speed related collisions on Britain’s roads each day.
Gary Rae, senior campaigner for Brake, the road safety charity, commented, “These are worrying findings. The research suggests a significant proportion of drivers seem to think it is okay to break the laws of the road. It can never be acceptable and we urge all drivers to respect road safety laws and recognise that such laws exist to help save lives.” He went on to say that, “Speed limits are just that, a limit, not a target to exceed. Brake sees daily the carnage that speeding can cause through our support services for people seriously injured and bereaved.”
Janet Connor, of More Than Car Insurance, commented, “This research shows that there's a worrying number of drivers for whom speeding is an acceptable everyday behaviour. Couple this with shocking ignorance when it comes to the most common road signs, which are designed to help ensure safe and responsible driving, and you've got a recipe for road disaster as well as an increase in the cost of car insurance.”