If you have recently been caught speeding then you will have been offered a place on a Speed Awareness Course instead of the three points on your licence and a fine of £60. Although it is a bit more expensive at £90 it is worth going as you will find yourself agreeing that it is worth sticking to the speed limit in future.
The instructors are usually qualified Advanced Driving Instructors and don’t judge; you are there to be re-educated not punished. They use special methods to help you learn why speed limits are set and how to avoid breaking them.
One particularly effective technique used by the instructors is to demonstrate why it is important to stick to 30mph in built up areas. Imagine you are driving at 30mph and a pedestrian unexpectedly steps out into the road, you break and stop just in time. However, if you are travelling at just 32mph then you are still travelling at 11mph when you pass the spot where you would have stopped at 30mph. This means that if the pedestrian is still there you will hit them at 11mph.
Recent analysis from a leading road safety group has shown that around 85% of pedestrians were killed when struck by cars at impact speeds of between 30mph and 40mph. However, this drops to 45% killed at speeds between 30mph and 20mph.
This is why most urban roads in built up areas have a speed limit of 30mph, so you can make reasonable progress but still have time to stop when something unexpected happens.