To ask the Minister for Transport the number of speed surveys completed by the NRA in the past five years; the date of the last such survey; the proposed date for the completion of the next survey; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 7th May, 2003.
Ref No: 12323/03
Answered by the Minister for Transport
Issues relating to speed surveys on national roads are a matter for the National Roads Authority. However, The National Roads Authority (NRA) carried out speed surveys on inter-urban sections of national routes in 1997 which showed widespread exceedances of speed limits, with 40% of cars exceeding the 60 mph speed limit and 26% exceeding the 70 mph motorway limit.
A national speed survey of free speeds was also carried out by the NRA in 1999 and published in 2000. The results of those surveys indicate that 51% of cars exceed the general speed limit of 60 mph on two lane national primary routes, with 13% in excess of 70 mph.
The NRA have subsequently carried out a sample free speed survey, based on a subset of the original sites from the 1999 survey and has also carried out a comprehensive speed survey, the results of which will be available shortly. Preliminary indications from this survey show that improvements have been made in relation to speeding on rural roads.
Over the past five years, two seat-belt surveys have been carried out by the National Roads Authority (in 1999 and 2002) and a third survey is being undertaken this Summer.
The survey carried out in 1999 showed that driver seat belt wearing rate increased marginally over the eight year period from 51% in 1991 to 55% in 1999. The survey also showed that male driver wearing rates declined slightly from 49% to 48%, female driver wearing rates increased from 61% in 1991 to 68% in 1999. The wearing rates for rear seat passengers in 1999 was 20%.
The NRA carried out a further comprehensive seat belt survey last year and while the report is not yet published, preliminary indications show that substantial progress has been made in relation to seat-belt wearing. The results of this survey will be available shortly.