More than half of UK drivers admit to speeding in 20mph areas

News from Brake

10 May 2017

A Brake and Churchill Car Insurance survey of 2,000 UK drivers reveals:

  • More than half (52%) admit to driving at 25mph or faster in a 20mph speed limit
  • 25-34 year olds most likely to drive at 25mph or faster in a 20mph area (73%), while 55-64 year olds least likely (45%).
  • Nearly 8 in 10 (78%) think traffic travels too fast in their neighbourhood for the safety of children on foot or bike.
  • More than 7 in 10 (72%) underestimate the amount of children killed on roads globally every day – currently 500.

Road safety charity Brake is calling on all drivers to #SlowDown this Beep Beep! Day as survey reveals more than half (52%) admit to speeding in 20mph areas.

The latest survey of 2,000 drivers also shows that 8 in 10 (78%) think traffic is too fast in their neighbourhood for the safety of children on foot or bike. Research has found that children cannot judge the speed of approaching vehicles travelling faster than 20mph, so may believe it is safe to cross when it is not [1]. More than five children are seriously hurt or killed every day in the UK, with the majority (80%) being on foot or bicycle at the time [2].

The findings revealed today (10 May) come as more than 50,000 children aged 2-7 take part in a Beep Beep! Day run by Brake and Churchill Car Insurance. The project for nurseries, schools and childminders engages little ones with road safety including, critically helping them to raise awareness among parents and the wider community about protecting children, particularly those on foot or bicycle, by slowing down.

The event, now in its 14th year, coincides with the United Nations Global Road Safety Week’s #SlowDown campaign, which aims to increase understanding of the dangers of speed and encourage drivers in all countries to slow down to protect road users. Beep Beep! Days are also happening in countries including Russia, India, Saudi Arabia, Cameroon and South Africa this year.

Five hundred children are killed on roads globally every day – a figure 7 in 10 (72%) drivers surveyed underestimated – showing the importance of raising awareness about the situation across the world. That’s why this year’s Beep Beep! Day includes a range of special resources to help children to understand how people travel around the globe and to highlight the importance of drivers slowing down where children live, walk and play.

Brake and Churchill’s survey also reveals that nearly three-quarters (73%) of 25-34 year olds are likely to drive at 25mph or more in a 20mph area, whereas fewer than half (45%) of 55-64 year olds say they would do so. Men (61%) admit to driving at those speeds more than women (43%). The 25-34 age bracket of drivers gave the highest results in terms of thinking that traffic travels too fast in their community too (83%).

Dave Nichols, community engagement manager at Brake, said: “All children have the right to play safely and live a healthy life without fear – rights that are universally recognised by the United Nations and world leaders. Yet, in the UK, one of the most developed countries in the world, our children are often denied these rights because of the lethal danger posed by fast traffic. That’s why, in a week when the UN is asking people across the world to #SlowDown on roads, we’re calling on UK drivers to take the lead in making roads safer for children – by driving at 20mph or less and taking more care in communities. The Beep Beep! Day project engages kids in this life-saving cause, helping them learn about road safety issues and, critically, inspire their parents and drivers to reduce danger on our roads, by actions such as slowing down.”

Steve Barrett, head of Churchill Car Insurance, said: “We are very proud to be supporting Beep Beep! Day once again this year. Too many children die or are seriously injured on our roads each week. Beep Beep! Day is a great way of starting to talk to young children about road safety, as well as raising awareness among drivers, including parents and grandparents, of the need to drive with extreme care when young children are about.”

Full survey results of 2,000 drivers conducted by Surveygoo:

Q1. Within the past year, have you driven at 25mph or faster in a 20mph speed limit?

Yes, once a day or more: 8%

Yes, several times a week: 10%

Yes, about once a week: 8%

Yes, about once a month: 7%

Yes, less than once a month: 19%

No, never: 48% 

Q.2 Do you think traffic in your neighbourhood is travelling too fast for the safety of children on foot or bike?

Yes, traffic is too fast on most/all local roads: 25%

Yes, traffic is too fast on some local roads: 53%

No: 22% 

Q3. How many children do you think are killed on roads globally every day?

100: 29%

200: 21%

300: 13%

400: 9%

500: 28%


Notes to Editors:

About Brake

Brake is a road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths, serious injuries and pollution occurring on our roads every day. We work to make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake's vision is a world where there are zero road deaths and injuries, and people can get around in ways that are safe, green, healthy and fair. We do this by pushing for legislative change through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog and use #beepbeepday

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

About Beep Beep! Day

In 2016, more than 240,000 children are estimated to have taken part in a Beep Beep! Day. Brake encourages nurseries, playgroups, infant schools, children's centres and childminders to run the event on one of four dates – in 2017, the remaining dates are 10 May, 27 September and 22 November – or on whatever day is best for them. Nurseries receive a free electronic pack with downloadable resources, or can buy a bumper hard-copy pack for £12.60 (inc VAT) to help them run road safety activities and promote road safety to parents and the community. Visit

About Churchill

Founded in 1989, Churchill is now one of the UK's leading providers of general insurance, offering car, home, travel and pet insurance cover over the phone or on-line.

Churchill general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. 

Churchill and U K Insurance Limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.  

Customers can find out more about Churchill products or get a quote by calling 0300 200300 or visiting

End notes

[1] Traffic at 30mph is too fast for children’s visual capabilities, University of Royal Holloway London, 2010

[2] Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2015, Department for Transport, 2016, tables RAS30059 & RAS30062

[3] Inappropriate vehicle speed, RoSPA, 2016

Tags: 20mph speed speed limit speeding