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RAC research has shown that drivers of company cars are more inclined to drive above the speed limit, especially on motorways, than drivers of privately owned vehicles. What’s more, they have also proven to be willing to drive at higher speeds than the rest of the driving nation, confirming the long held belief that salesmen and executives are those that are often seen speeding in the fast lane. A variety of reasons for speeding were given, with the most popular excuse being that they were following the flow of traffic.

Recent surveys have suggested that around a half of all drivers speed while on the motorways, although a significantly lower number are willing to do so on smaller roads. These figures have been borne out by the most recent study undertaken by motoring group the RAC, who have previously said that 80mph has become the new default speed on the motorway.

88% of company car drivers said that they drive above the 70mph speed limit that is in force on British motorways, compared to 67% of private motorists. Although the figure is lower, it still represents a much larger portion than the 50% that had been suggested in earlier reports, and certainly backs up the fact that most drivers treat the motorway as having an 80mph limit.

When quizzed about the reasons that they speed, 31% said they were following the flow of traffic, 19% put it down to driving in favourable conditions, 15% that 70mph felt too slow, and 8% said that modern cars were equipped and able enough to drive at higher speeds than the current laws allow. The government has discussed the possibility of variable speed limits, so that drivers would be allowed to drive at higher speeds when roads are quiet and there are favourable conditions.

In terms of the speeds reached, 62% said that they drive at 80mph and 8% said that they drive at 90mph. When private car owners were asked the same question, 32% said that they top 80mph and just 3% said that they drive at speeds as high as 90mph.