The speed limits are not arbitrarily imposed.They are there for a good reason. If a particular road has a reduced speed limit it is probably due to, among other factors, the special conditions of the road in question, a lack of visibility, or the high number of vulnerable groups in the area such as children and elderly persons. With the goal of evaluating the speed at which vehicles drive in areas close to parks, educational establishments or residences, Fundación MAPFRE has analysed the speed of more than 3000 vehicles in 10 Spanish cities.
The data shows that 64.95% of drivers exceed the maximum speed limits in these types of roads limited to 20, 30, 40 and 50 km/h . A total of 3090 vehicles have been analyzed and 2007 of them exceeded the speed limits displayed. Only 1083 were traveling at the correct speed.
The lower the maximumm speed the more the limit is exceeded
The ‘Speed and vulnerable groups’ report, carried out by Fundación MAPFRE, reveals that in roads limited to 20 km/h the average speed of vehicles is 35.7 km/h. 97% of the vehicles exceeded the 20 km/h speed limit established, that is to say, 532 vehicles.
On roads with speed limits of 30 km/h the average speed is 37.9 km/h. Here, a total of 243 vehicles do not comply with the maximum speed limit established - some 82%.
The excess speed is lower on roads limited to 40 km/h, where the average speed is 43.3 km/h. In this case, 556 vehicles did not obey the speed limit (34%).
On roads with a speed limit of 50 km/h the average speed is in fact lower, at 42.2 km/h. In this instance, 24% have broken the speed limit established (269 vehicles).
10 km/h above the speed limit can mean the difference between life and death
Where the city itself is concerned, the speed is not exceeded excessively. Nevertheless, if we take into account that the potential victims could be pedestrians, especially children or elderly persons, a few kilometers per hour more can make all the difference.
In this sense, we would highlight that 17% of drivers go above the speed limit by 1 to 5 km/h, while 16% exceed it by 6 to 10 km/h and 15% exceed the speed limit by 11 to 15 km/h. It is notable that no less than 80 vehicles, 2.59% of those analyzed, travel at twice the permitted speed.
As indicated by Jesús Monclús, director of the Accident Prevention and Road Safety Area of Fundación MAPFRE, during the presentation of the report, ‘a crash at more than 30 km/h raises the probability of serious injury or death’. At a speed of 30 km/h the risk of dying for a pedestrian who is knocked down is 10%.
The report specifically analyzes the speed at which vehicles travel within the proximity of schools, parks and residential areas and the conclusions show that 74% of vehicles exceed the speed within the immediate vicinity of educational establishments (only 26% respect the speed limits).
67% of vehicles also exceed the speed permitted in parks. Nevertheless, the percentage of drivers who do not obey the speed limits near residential areas is lower. In this case only 43% of vehicles exceed the permitted speeds.
We should take into account that these are areas of particular risk. If a vehicle is traveling too fast the driver has hardly any time to react and stop the vehicle. A child may suddenly run between two cars chasing a ball. It is at this point that the speed at which the vehicle is traveling is crucial in order to avoid an accident. It should be noted that at a speed of 50 km/h the driver needs to travel 36 metres to stop the vehicle. If the car is traveling at 40 km/, the driver needs approximately 20 metres.
Lastly, the report covers the excess speed in the 10 cities analyzed. Ávila is the city that registered the highest number of excess speeds. In fact, 100% of the vehicles stopped in the city were traveling at speeds beyond the established limits. Following them was Zaragoza (91.7% of vehicles exceeded the maximum speed limits), Madrid (89.7%), Santiago (85.5% exceeded the speed limits), Barcelona (83%), Valencia (74.3%), Córdoba (59.8%), Seville (42.3%), Las Palmas (17%) and Tenerife (16.4%).