Road safety charity calls for lower speed limits

Road safety charity calls for lower speed limits 5th October 2015

A road safety charity has appealed to Westminster to cut the sort of unnecessary red tape that makes it harder for local authorities to lower speed limits.

Brake said that the main reason many councils struggle with lowering speed limits is because of the fact it can cost them too much money. They struggle to see that there are long-term cost benefits because of the up-front charges that make it expensive to impose new lower limits. 

The road charity also said that the government needs to be doing more to make sure that local authorities understand its own published guidance on when changes can and should be made to speed limits. 

One example it gave was in cases where councils are attempting to impose a new 20mph limit. In the government guidance it states that this can be done on any road where the average speed at present is below 24mph. However, many councils are unaware of this and believe that the average speed has to be 20mph for the limit to change. 

Dr Tom Fisher, research manager for Brake, says 20mph limits are essential to reducing the number of accidents across the nation. His organisation believes that signs-only limits at this speed can help to see a reduction in speed of 1mph on average. This can cut collisions on roads by as much as six per cent, greatly increasing safety. 

Dr Fisher said these limits are especially important in built up areas, where there are still a great many roads across the nation which are unnecessarily dangerous thanks to speeding vehicles. 

In the initial stages of a new wave of speed limit changes, he said, the government needs to focus on cutting through red tape, such as the requirement for costly repeater signs. He also went on to say that in the long run, more needs to be done to work towards a 20mph speed limit as the default in UK towns and cities. 

Posted by Danielle Barge