According to official figures the number of people injured or killed within 20mph zones in Britain has increased by 24%. The shocking statistic has raised a serious cause for concern amongst motoring organisations who are now questioning the safety of 20mph road areas. In 2009 councils were granted the authority to designate the 20mph zones accordingly to improve road safety – seemingly to little success.
The number of road instances in 20mph zones that resulted in death or injury stood at 1,824. However, in 2011 this number increased to 2,262, up by almost a quarter (24%). Out of these occurrences, a total of 1,966 in fact lead to just minor injuries. In addition, when considering that 30mph roads witnessed over 125,000 casualties in 2011 alone, the stats for 20mph zones are seemingly less bad. Despite the vast number of wounded individuals on these faster roads, casualties on 30mph roads have decreased by 1% according to Department of Transport data.
Whether or not restricted speed limits are useful or not has stirred debate amongst officials suggesting that local authorities are the best to judge whether certain areas require a reduced limit. In theory imposing lower speed limits means that crashes are more unlikely and result in less serious injuries.
Transport minister, Norman Baker, commented on the controversy saying: “It’s vital that speed limits are suitable for local conditions and councils are best placed to determine what these limits are, based on local knowledge and the views of the community.
“Authorities up and down the country have been concluding that 20mph limits are indeed beneficial to their local areas.”
Director of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, Neil Greig contrasted on the findings, saying: “The road safety evidence on 20mph areas now seems very mixed and contradictory.”
Many UK motorists may be apprehensive of lowering speed limits further despite the possible reductions in road collisions. Ultimately if plans were forwarded to reduce speeding then car insurance premiums may show a level of improvement.