Managing travel speeds is a core part of an efficient and safe road transport system. Speed management involves consideration of travel times, safety, fuel use and other environmental issues.

Monitoring speeds of vehicles that are unimpeded by other traffic provides a measure of drivers' choice of travel speed. The annual speed survey presents the results of the latest annual nationwide survey of unimpeded vehicle speeds. These surveys are designed to monitor changes in vehicle speeds in both 100km/h speed limit areas and main urban 50km/h areas. There are about 65 open road and 65 urban sites surveyed each year. The current sites have been surveyed since 1995. This measure provides valuable information on the effectiveness of speed management measures and provides valuable information for developing safety policies. This survey was discontinued in 2016.

The faster you go, the more likely you are to crash and the greater your risk of serious injury or death. No matter what causes a crash, the driver's decision to travel at a certain speed directly affects the force of impact (and sometimes, whether there is an impact at all). Travelling too fast for the conditions ('speeding') puts you, your passengers and other road users at risk. Within this definition speeding is considered in terms of 'excess speed' which refers to instances when vehicles travel in excess of the legally declared speed limit and 'inappropriate speed' which refers to instances when vehicles travel at a speed which is unsuitable for the prevailing road and traffic conditions. The distinction is important because while speed limits set out speeds that are illegal to drive above, it is up to the driver to decide, within the speed limit, what speed is appropriate.

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