UK speed limits 'should be cut'

Measures being proposed in Spain to cut motorway speed limits to 50mph and speeds in towns to 25mph should be adopted in the UK in a bid to improve road safety, new research suggests.

A study for shows that nine out of 10 men in the UK admit to exceeding the current 70mph speed limit, with almost two-thirds (63%) saying they had driven in excess of 100mph. Among women, the figures were lower, although the percentage of those admitting to breaking the speed limit was still high, at 77%, and a third (36%) had broken the 100mph barrier.

The poll of 4,000 motorists found that almost a third of men (31%) think they are better drivers than women. However, road accident statistics tell a different story. There are 30% more male drivers than female, but they are involved in almost twice as many car accidents as women.

Figures show that some 3,000 people a year are killed on Britain's roads, and more than 30,000 are seriously injured.

Often-cited research conducted by Ashton and Mackay in 1979 showed that speed reductions have a significant effect on survival rates. A pedestrian hit by a car driving at 20mph has a 97% chance of survival, but this falls to 80% at 30mph, 50% at 35mph and 10% at 40mph.

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