More 20mph zones could be introduced in residential areas as part of a new, 10-year road safety strategy.
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Transport minister Jim Fitzpatrick is expected to issue new guidelines for councils in England and Wales to follow when deciding speed limits on local roads.
Some local authorities, such as Newcastle, Portsmouth, Oxford and Leicester, already use 20mph speed limits in residential areas. But more local councils could now follow suit, introducing low-speed zones around schools and in quiet, residential streets.
Lower speed limits
Road safety researchers say people hit at 20mph have a much better chance of survival than those struck at 30mph. Only one in 40 die at 20mph, compared with one in five at 30mph.
Robert Gifford, of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, said: ‘The 20mph zones are proven to save lives and that is especially important when thinking about children and the elderly.’
Reports suggest the government will also propose cutting speed limits on single-carriageway A-roads from 60mph to 50mph. In addition, police could be given powers to conduct random breath tests without motorists committing any traffic offences.
Casualty reduction targets
In 2007, the number of people killed on British roads fell below 3,000 for the first time since records began. It’s thought Mr Fitzpatrick will unveil tough new casualty reduction targets for 2020 in a bid to reduce this figure further.
However critics have warned against cutting speed limits. Anti-speed camera group Safe Speed told the Daily Mail: ‘If you make drivers go at a speed where they are not comfortable, they will be distracted and inattentive and that is what causes accidents. This government seems obsessed with speed as a prime factor for causing accidents.’
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