Foot on the Brakes as 20mph Limits are Introduced

UK motorists will have to watch their speed dials more carefully whilst driving in built up areas as the government announces new plans to increase the prevalence of 20mph speed limits.

The move comes as a response to the growing number of fatalities casting a shadow on UK streets. Research has found that one in five pedestrians struck by a car at 30mph dies compared to only one in 40 at 20mph.

The new limits will be predominantly used in built up areas and those where cyclists and pedestrian traffic is excessive, such as close to schools, shops and parks.

The use of 20mph zones will also see the amount of speed humps severely reduced across the country. The ‘no-humps’ zones will instead contain average speed cameras, which are cheaper for councils to enforce.

The wireless cameras will be placed at busy entry and exit points along suburban roads and log a driver’s number plate. If the driver’s speed is 4mph or more above the 20mph speed limit, they will receive an automatic £60 fine and three penalty points through the post.

“Too many pedestrians and cyclists, including many children, are still being killed or hurt on the roads around their homes and schools,” said Road Safety Minister, Paul Clark. “We have seen that 20mph zones can make a real difference to the safety of local roads.”

There has been noticeable opposition to the new government plans, with some claiming the answer is to create better rather than slower drivers. AA President Edmund King warned councils not to become too vigilant when enforcing the limits.

“We need common sense when dealing with speed restrictions. We don’t want to see local authorities adopting an over-zealous approach,” said Mr King.

More than 32,000 people have died on British roads in the past 10 years and the 20mph idea, as well as ministers wanting the 60mph limit on some rural roads dropped to 50mph, has been welcomed by safety campaigners as a clear message to 'speeding’ drivers.