Understanding inappropriate high speed: a qualitative analysis

  • Published: Department for Transport, Road Safety Research Report No. 94, 2008
  • Authors: R. Fuller, B. Hannigan, H. Bates, M. Gormley, S. Stradling, P. Broughton, N. Kinnear, C. O’Dolan
  • Date Added: 07 Mar 2014
  • Last Update: 07 Mar 2014
  • Format: pdf


To explore driver experiences and perceptions regarding speed choice and to identify the extent to which the concept of the Task-Capability Interface reported in Road Safety Research Report No. 92 applies. To help inform media campaigns.


Four focus groups involving professional drivers, participants on a speed awareness course and riders of motorcycles (36 participants in total). Survey of 1,005 drivers (928 were current drivers).

Key Findings:

  • Participants were aware that high speeds reduced the time available to deal with contingencies.

  • Non compliance with speed limits was generally regarded as potentially dangerous but not in all conditions.

  • Speed was related to mood state (frustration, annoyance), circumstances (wanting to get home) and social norms (perceptions of the norms of speeding, aggressive driving being acceptable).

  • There was a perception that minor levels of infringement were acceptable.· There was no striking difference between the different groups of participants.


Speed, driver behaviour, driver attitudes.