London - With loud engines, screeching tyres and sudden bursts of speed, boy racers are often decried as the most dangerous drivers on our roads.

But a new study shows that those who speed the most are in fact middle-aged – and the worst of all drive upmarket Audis. A survey of 6000 British motorists aged from 17 to 80 showed that those most likely to break the speed limit are the 41-60 age band, who do so for 6.6 percent of their total time at the wheel.

It also found that Audi drivers are the worst culprits, breaking the limit 8.7 percent of the time, followed by BMW drivers at 8.3 per cent. In fact, three out of the five marques driven by the most inveterate speeders are German, with Mercedes in fifth place on 7.7 percent. Jaguar and Land Rover come in at third and fourth.

The slowest drivers drive Suzukis, speeding for just 4.2 percent of their mileage.

In age terms, the second most speedy group are over-65s, who break the limit 6.5 percent of the time, followed by young drivers aged 17-25 (6.2 percent) and the 26-40 group (6.1 percent).

Speeding research 

The new figures come as the British government considers the introduction of graduated licences with restrictions on new drivers - such as not letting them drive at night, carry multiple passengers or drive the most powerful cars.

The speeding research was carried out by Smartdriverclub, which monitors speed and mileage and rewards more careful drivers with cheaper insurance.

Boss Penny Searles said the company would welcome graduated driving licences but added: "Our analysis shows that experience doesn’t always mean safer driving.

"Motorists in their 40s have that classic combination of intense work and home pressures which can make them heavy-footed when they get behind the wheel.

"Our customers like the fact that they get a gentle reminder from us if they have been going over the speed limit or braking harshly on a frequent basis."

Top speeders by age group:

1 41-60 (speed 6.6 percent of the time)

2 65+ - (6.5 percent)

3 17-25 - Younger drivers broke the speed limit 6.2 percent of the time

4 26-40 - Drivers in this age group broke the speed limit 6.1 percent of the time

Top speeders by make of car:

1 Audi - 8.7 percent

2 BMW - 8.3 percent

3 Jaguar - 8 percent

4 Land Rover - 7.8 percent

5 Mercedes-Benz - 7.7 percent