More than three-quarters of motorists admit breaking the speed limit - and two-thirds want the national limit raised, according to a survey.

Drivers are less keen on increasing speed limits on residential roads

Yet it is not the stereotype boy-racers who are the biggest speeding culprits, according to the poll carried out for a motor insurance company - although it does indicate that men are almost three times as likely to speed frequently as women.

It is those in their 30s who are most likely to offend, according to the data gathered by YouGov on behalf of Admiral - 81 per cent owning up to speeding, compared with 72 per cent of 18-24 year olds, which brackets them alongside those aged 70 and over.

However, drivers in the youngest age group - 36 per cent of the 18-24-year-olds - were the most likely to regard speeding as acceptable, suggests the poll, of 3,614 drivers.

Overall, 26 per cent believe speeding is acceptable - although 43 per cent disagree.

Insurance premiums are significantly affected by accident statistics, with speed often cited as a factor in crashes, as well as gender.

Admiral managing director Dave Halliday said: "Our statistics show a worrying trend where people view a speed limit as simply a guide rather than a speed that's appropriate for that road.

"It's also concerning to see the different attitude between the genders, particularly the huge number of men who admit to driving over the speed limit and those who believe it's acceptable."

Driving over the speed limit: men - 82 per cent; women - 73 per cent; overall - 78 per cent 
Acceptable to speed: men - 36 per cent; women - 17 per cent; overall - 26 per cent
Motorway speed limit: 70mph - 29 per cent; 80mph - 55 per cent; above 80mph - 14 per cent
Admiral/YouGov

Admiral's annual survey of British motorists uncovered significant support for the government's proposed consultation on raising the speed limit on UK motorways from 70mph to 80mph.

But while 55 per cent backed the idea, another 14 per cent favoured increasing it beyond 80mph.

Conversely, fewer than four per cent would like to see a speed limit in residential streets above 30mph.

Mr Halliday added: "This could be due to motorists thinking about the potential impact on pedestrians, particularly children in these areas.

"However, they need to remember the impact that driving a car at speed can have on any road, particularly in relation to other road users."