Is 20mph the new 30mph?

Monday, July 19, 2021 - 09:03
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A new survey from IAM RoadSmart suggests that support for reducing the speed limit on all urban roads to 20mph has increased in recent years.

20mphNearly half (44%) of respondents agreed all current 30mph limits should be replaced with a 20mph limit – a 13% increase from the same representative sample surveyed in 2014.

Areas outside schools were seen as the highest priority for reducing speed limits to 20mph, receiving support from 89% of respondents.

The main reasons put forward for a blanket reduction in the speed limit are to ‘make the roads safer’ (49%) and ‘reduce accidents/saving lives’ (24%).

Meanwhile, those against argue that 20mph is too slow and that individual roads or areas should be considered rather than a blanket ban.

Just over half of respondents (54%) would like the road outside their home to have a 20mph limit, higher than 44% when the survey was last conducted seven years ago.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “Improving road safety is key but a blanket ban on reducing 30mph speed limits to 20mph speed limits isn’t necessarily the best route.

“Each situation needs to be decided on a case-by-case basis, with local considerations and consultation playing an important role.”

Further findings from the study indicate strong support for a ‘soft touch’ for drivers caught speeding up to 30mph in a 20mph zone, with 64% of respondents favouring a tailored driver education course rather than a fine for offenders.

Neil Greig added: “The key requirement for any 20mph zone must be that it is self-enforcing and self-explaining through signposting and road markings that makes sense, or by installing high quality traffic calming features.”


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