DRIVERS in Lincolnshire are being urged to slow down to protect children on foot and bicycles.
Newly-published research by road safety group Brake and insurance company Direct Line reveals the extent to which speeding has become ingrained in many people's regular driving habits especially young and male drivers.
More than half of young drivers – 52 per cent – speed at 35mph plus in 30mph limits at least weekly compared to 34 per cent of older drivers.
Meanwhile 46 per cent of male drivers speed at 35mph plus in 30mph limits at least weekly compared to 27 per cent of female drivers.
Brake is warning these speeds make highways risky places for people, and children in particular, to walk and cycle and is appealing to all drivers to cut their speed.
The group is urging drivers to pledge to not only stay within limits but slow down to 20mph or below around homes, schools and shops.
It says driving just a bit faster dramatically increases stopping distances, reducing the chance of being able to stop in time in an emergency.
At 20mph, if a child stepped out three car lengths ahead, a driver should just be able to stop.
But at 30mph or faster they would barely have time to hit the brakes before hitting the child with a significant chance of seriously maiming or killing them.
Brake senior campaigns officer Ellen Booth said: "Children make mistakes on roads, so it's vital drivers are always ready to stop in an emergency.
"Don't fool yourself that you can handle faster speeds; slowing down to 20mph or less around schools and homes is essential in giving yourself time to react, and allowing families to walk and cycle without fear.
"If we want to encourage greener, healthier lifestyles then making our roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists is critical, and all drivers can play a part in this.
"At the same time, we're appealing to government to invest in more 20mph limits, appealing to local authorities everywhere to implement these life-saving and life-enabling schemes as widely as possible."
Andy Goldby from Direct Line added: "Speed is one of the biggest killers on our roads and speed limits are there for a reason. Whilst parents can teach children how to cross the road safely and warn them of the dangers when out playing, the lives of their loved ones are very much in the hands of drivers and whether or not they are willing to slow down.
"Speed limits are a maximum and not a 'must do'. Gauging the conditions and situation is not just the responsibility of pedestrians, drivers have a responsibility too. They need to drive as they would want others to if their child was playing nearby."