More than half of all motorists have admitted to speeding in an area with a speed limit of 20mph, research from road safety charity Brake has found.

According to Brake’s survey of 2,000 drivers, 52% said they drive above the speed limit in 20mph areas, while 78% said they thought that traffic is too fast for the safety of children on foot or bike.

Research from the University of Royal Holloway London suggests that children cannot judge the speed of approaching vehicles travelling faster than 20mph, so may believe it is safe to cross the road when it is not.

Brake’s research also found that 73% of 25-34 year olds are likely to drive at 25mph or more in a 20 zone, whereas 45% of 55-64 year olds say they would.

Men are also more likely to speed than women, with 61% of males admitting to going over the limit compared with 43% of women.

The research found that the 17-25 age bracket gave the highest results in terms of believing traffic travels too quickly in their neighbourhood, with more than eight in 10 (83%) agreeing with this notion.

“We’re calling on UK drivers to take the lead in making roads safer for children – by driving at 20mph or less and taking more care in communities,” said Dave Nichols, community engagement manager at Brake.