Men much more likely to speed, says road safety charity
Following the launch of a new government anti-speeding campaign featuring a male driver plagued by memories of the child he killed, research released today by Brake, the road safety charity and Direct Line Car Insurance has found men are more likely to speed compared with women.
The research finds one in 3 male drivers, compared with one in 7 female drivers, admit they drive 35mph or faster in 30mph zones every day or several times a week. At 35mph you are twice as likely to kill a child compared with driving at 30mph or slower.
The gender gap is even larger on rural roads. One in five male drivers, compared with one in 16 female drivers, say they drive faster than 60mph on single carriageway rural roads every day or several times a week. In the last couple of weeks, the Government said it was considering plans to reduce the speed limit on rural roads to a default 50mph and many Local Authorities are already reducing speed limits on such roads to 40mph or 50mph due to the fatal consequences of high speed single-vehicle or head-on collisions, often on bends or brows.
When it comes to driving on motorways, men are nearly three times more likely to speed. One in five male drivers, compared with one in 14 female drivers, say they drive faster than 80mph on motorways and dual carriageways every day or several times a week.
The findings are reflected in official offence rates. Eight of 10 drivers found guilty of speeding offences are male according to figures published by the Ministry of Justice .
The faster you go, the less time there is to avoid a collision, and the more likely the collision will be fatal. More than nine out of 10 (93%) of convictions for causing death or bodily harm by driving are against men . A significant proportion of these convictions are for speed-related bad driving offences.
Tim Coats, professor of emergency medicine, University of Leicester, says: “When it comes to speeding, which is one of the biggest killers on our roads, men are undoubtedly the biggest group of offenders. The Government is clearly right to target its campaigns at men. Brake urges all drivers, but particularly men, to kill their speed and save a life.”
Professor Steve Stradling, professor in transport psychology at Napier University, says: “While generally less adept at hand-brake turns, women drivers are better drivers than men in so far as they are more capable of paying attention both to the road and to their speedometer and are less likely to kill or maim themselves or others when they get behind the wheel. By refraining from harsh acceleration and sustained high speed women drivers are also doing less damage to the planet.”
Maggie Game, Head of Direct Line Car Insurance, says: “Speeding is still endemic, especially with male drivers. One in three male drivers are willing to speed in 30mph zones, predominantly in built up areas where pedestrians, including children are likely to cross roads. Drivers need to think about their actions, and by driving 35mph rather than 30mph they are twice as likely to kill a child.”
Along with the Commission for Integrated Transport and the Motorists’ Forum, Brake supports the introduction of ISA; satellite controlled speed technology that limits the speed of a car electronically. Brake also supports lower speed limits, particularly 20mph limits in residential areas as well as low limits on rural roads.
Liam Stagnell, 21, from York, received serious brain injuries on 14 September 2007 when he was a passenger in a car driven by his workmate, Tom. They were hit by an overtaking speeding car as they emerged from a junction. Liam is amazing doctors with his recovery. The overtaking car driver was found guilty of dangerous driving and received a prison sentence of a year, with a three-year driving ban.
Liam says: “The crash has destroyed the family. They are coming to terms with it now but it ripped us all apart. I am still finding it hard to come to terms with how my life has changed. My mum’s life has changed dramatically because she cares for me and visits all the time.”
Both Liam and Dawn Stagnell, his mum will be available for interviews about the effect of road death on families’ lives.
For more information, and interviews with Brake or Liam and Dawn Stagnell, call Helena Houghton on 01484 559961 or email [email protected]
(NB: Liam and Dawn are available for pre-record interviews or after 3.30pm on Friday 3 April)