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Road Safety, Cycling and Sustainable Transports

Exceeding the designated speed limit or driving too fast for road conditions is the single largest factor contributing to road deaths in Ireland. Over 40% of fatal accidents are caused by excessive or inappropriate speed.

Speeding reduces a driver’s ability to steer safely around bends and it extends the distance necessary to stop a vehicle, and increases the distance a vehicle travels while the driver reacts to a dangerous situation. It’s a very simple concept. The faster you drive the less time you have to react to a situation.

At a 100km/h a car will travel 88 feet in one second – that’s quite a distance in an instant and not a lot of time to react. Another problem with speeding is that the higher the speed the greater the consequences. Without going into the science of it, a UK research paper has shown that a pedestrian hit by a car at 60kph is twice as likely to be killed as if he or she was hit at 50km/h. Car crashes are the number one killers of young men (16-25) in Ireland and driving at excess speed is the primary cause of these crashes.

The profile of the young driver most likely to be killed/injured in the car crash is: Male, 17 – 25 group or Licence holder for less than two years. Young men of this age are, to a large extent, responsible in over half of the road collisions in which they are involved. Many die in single vehicle accidents where speeding was the principal factor.

Bravado, peer pressure and a sense of invincibility often leads young men to take risks while driving, without realising the dangers of these risks. The relative proportion of speeding related crashes to all the crashes decreases with increased driver age i.e. older drivers have fewer speed related crashes. Research conducted in the UK indicates that an 18 year-old driver is three times as likely to be involved in an accident as a 48 year-old. For every mile driven a 17 year-old male is seven times more likely to be involved in an accident as a middle aged man.

It is for this reason that we say excessive speed and the young driver is literally a deadly combination.

How does speeding affect driving?
Speeding reduces the drivers’ ability to steer safely around bends
Speeding extends the drivers stopping distance.
Speeding also increases the distance a vehicle travels, while the driver reacts to a dangerous situation.

At 100km/h a car will travel 88ft in just one second – that’s not a lot of time to stop!
At 100km/h a car will have travelled 138 feet between recognising a hazard and starting to brake.

Advice to drivers: SLOW DOWN!
Motorists, Speed Limits are NOT targets!
Drive within the speed limits.
Observe Speed Limit areas as you enter them, and adjust your speed accordingly.
And remember, adapt your driving behaviour to suit road and weather conditions.
A Speed limit is the maximum and safest speed at which you are permitted to drive on a particular road, in that particular area.