Watch Your Speed - TfL Campaign

21 October 2019

Vision Zero

Car passengers often feel uncomfortable with the speeds driven by friends or family members and many are quietly hiding their concerns, Transport for London (TfL) revealed today. The new research, carried out by YouGov, showed that of 524 people who have travelled as a passenger in a friend or family member’s car at least once a month, 61% feel uncomfortable about the speed they are driven. 29% also felt uncomfortable telling a friend or family member to slow down. This worrying statistic suggests that many drivers may be driving in London unaware that they are driving at an unsafe speed and that their passengers feel uncomfortable about this.

103 people have tragically died on London’s roads already this year and analysis by TfL of historical casualty figures recorded by the Police suggests that speed accounts for 37% of all deaths and serious injuries. Collision data from around the world is very clear. It shows that the faster a vehicle is travelling; the more likely a collision will occur because the driver has less time to react, stop or avoid the collision; and the more severe an injury resulting from the collision will be. While many people driving may feel they are driving safely by adhering to speed limits, their speed may be considered unsafe due to other factors, such as being near to a school, a busy location with many other road users, weather conditions, turning at a junction or driving over or through speed
restrictions too quickly.

As part of the YouGov research, passengers who travel at least once a month were asked about various driving behaviours and how they feel about them. These showed that more than half of people surveyed feel that behaviours such as not slowing down when there are multiple hazards in the area, including by schools or on the approach to zebra crossings, both of which are easily avoidable by drivers, make them feel uncomfortable.

To help tackle unsafe speed across London, TfL has launched a powerful new marketing campaign which is designed to generate understanding amongst drivers that the speed at which they travel has a wider impact. Also that speeds that they may feel comfortable with behind the wheel can be unsafe for passengers and other road users.

Watch your speed

The campaign, ‘Watch Your Speed’, which includes a new TV advert, illustrates how driving at speed is perceived through the perspective of friends and family and encourages drivers to ensure they drive appropriately for the road and their passengers. The campaign supports TfL’s wider work on reducing speed-related collisions across London, which includes new 20mph speed limits to be introduced in central London early next year, increased
speed enforcement by the Metropolitan Police and fitting more than 700 buses with Intelligent Speed Assistance to limit the speed at which they can travel.

Stuart Reid, TfL’s Director of Vision Zero said: “People are seriously injured or die on our roads each day. It seems that driving at an unsafe speed has now sadly become socially acceptable and many people simply don’t think of it as a risk. Nobody gets behind the wheel intending to kill or harm someone but all too often, the way people choose to drive results in death or serious injury. This has devastating consequences for the victim, the driver and their families. I would urge drivers to slow down and also encourage people who feel uncomfortable with the speed they’re being driven at to speak up”.

Human life is so precious and we are committed to working to reduce this suffering but we all have a part to play. Through our wider Vision Zero programme we are targeting the root causes or road casualties. By doing so, we can make London’s roads safer and achieve our goal that, by 2041, all deaths and serious injuries will be eliminated from London's transport network.

Chief Superintendent Colin Wingrove, in charge of the Met’s Road and Transport Policing Command, said: “Excess speed is a usual factor in more than 30 per cent of collisions. Exceeding the speed limit has dangerous and serious consequences; and is an offence under the Road Traffic Act. People who do so are not properly in control of their vehicle and are more likely to be involved in a collision that can seriously harm the driver, passengers and other road users. It takes seconds to remind a driver that they are exceeding the speed limit, and in return could save multiple lives.”

Sam Bird is a British racing driver in the all-electric Formula E championship for the Envision Virgin Racing team. The 32-year-old is no stranger to the capital’s roads being a former winner of the London E-Prix and will be aiming to repeat this feat when the series returns next summer to London’s ExCeL. Speaking in support of the new road danger reduction initiative, Bird said: “As a professional racing driver, you develop the skills to be able to control a vehicle at high speed but, more importantly, you are fully aware that there is a time and a place for driving fast and a time not to. Driving inappropriately is dangerous regardless where it happens and no-one should be made to
feel unsafe by someone else’s driving.”

You can watch the TfL Driver Safety video here and keep up with the campaign via Twitter, following the hashtag #VisionZeroLDN.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1005 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 3rd and 7th October 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all London adults (aged 18+).

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