UK & World News

  • 4 July 2014, 4:49

20mph Zone Road Crash Casualties Rise By 26%

The number of serious accidents increased last year on roads with speed limits of just 20mph, figures have shown.

Local authorities can choose to reduce speeds in areas where vulnerable road users are at risk by putting up new signs or introducing 20mph zones with speed humps and chicanes.

But statistics from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) reveal that serious crashes on 20mph roads increased by 26% last year to 420 and accidents causing slight injury rose by 17%.

IAM chief examiner Peter Rodger said: "If we're going to reduce the speed of traffic it would appear we perhaps need to do more than just put signposts up.

"Traffic calming measures will slow speed of traffic down. Once you've done that it doesn't matter what the limit is because if the road will only allow the traffic to travel at 20mph the limit itself becomes academic."

But even those measures are not always successful.

Sally Beevis says the speed humps and width restrictions outside her son's school in Norwich are often ignored.

"They all still speed up here. It doesn't matter what time of day," she said.

"People just don't take notice of speed limits, to be honest."

And Sanny Cornish, who walks or cycles to school with her four sons each day, believes the traffic calming measures can make things worse.

"Sometimes they infuriate drivers more than calm people down. I'd agree with lowering the speed limit more in school areas."

There were six fatalities on 20mph roads in 2013 - down 33%. But there is no clear reason why the number of serious crashes has risen.

One possibility may simply be that the number of roads in that category is increasing as more speed restrictions are introduced.

But it seems too many drivers are ignoring the speed limits instead of thinking of safety.