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Drivers speeding 'on a massive scale'

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Government figures show 85% of lorry drivers break the 50mph speed limit and half of car drivers travel in excess of the 70mph limit.

Data for 2008 released from the Department for Transport statistics reveal 75% of lorries exceeded 40mph limits and on motorways 15% of motorists risk higher car insurance premiums by driving above 80mph.

However, in 1998 69% of cars travelling in 30mph speed zones exceeded the limit, compared with 50% that did so in 2008.

Speaking about the data Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Norman Baker said: "It seems the police and the Government are now prepared to accept law-breaking on a massive scale."

Figures also show motorists travelled a shorter distance in 2008, 0.8% less than 2007, but still 11% more distance than that travelled in 1998.

But the distance travelled by light vans fell for the first time since 1992, with a reduction of 0.4%.

The Government data shows the volume of heavy goods vehicles on the roads fell by 2.2% last year and motorways carried 20% of all traffic, despite only accounting for 0.9% of road length.

© Press Association 2009