Dear Editor, The Birmingham Post published on April 1 a letter from various anti-car groups supporting a reduction in speed limits to 20mph.
These groups claim that a reduction is necessary to continue improving casualty reduction figures but they are missing the real point in that speeding is only a tiny factor in the cause of accidents. Only 4.7 per cent of casualties are the result of people speeding which means the other 96.3 per cent are not. The main cause of accidents is drivers not concentrating and failing to look properly. Reducing the speed limit to 20mph will make this worse as frustration takes its toll on perfectly safe and competent motorists.
Whilst a 20mph zone outside schools might be practical if it were in operation when kids were entering or leaving the area, it is just madness to suggest all roads where people live should be restricted to a 20mph speed limit enforced by average speed cameras.
Cars are safer than ever and the policies directed at improving road safety today are deeply flawed. In Portugal and Spain, casualties have been reduced by up to 48 per cent since 2000.
In these countries with the most successful safety policies, new roads are being built bypassing towns and cities along with sensible improvements to carriageways. Here in the UK, where we have installed 9,000 speed cameras and reduced speed limits across the country, we have managed just a seven per cent reduction. This is about what you could expect from the modern safety features installed in cars today.
Road safety policies concentrating almost exclusively on speed reduction and enforcement have failed and more of the same will fail yet again.
When 20mph doesn’t work, what then? Do we reduce the limit to 10mph, 5mph or should we just stop altogether?
Director – Drivers’ Alliance