A new survey has revealed how 40 percent of drivers are speeding in 20mph zones that are designed to keep children and other road users safe.
The research into speeding habits was published today as children head back to school.
The survey by road safety charity Brake and insurers Direct Line shows four in ten of drivers admit to ‘sometimes’ breaking the 20mph speed limit by at least 10mph. More than a quarter of drivers ‘regularly’ speed in such areas.
Brake’s campaigns advisor Alice Bailey said: “All parents want to know their children are safe while travelling to and from school and playing outdoors. Speed limits are in place to keep all road users safe and if tragedy strikes and a child is hit by a car, the speed it is travelling at could be the difference between life and death.
“20mph limits benefit our communities in so many ways, keeping them safer, cleaner and greener; when limits are lower many more people choose to ditch the car completely and walk and cycle instead. If people feel they have to drive, the lower speed limit will have a negligible impact on travel times.“
Most 20mph zones and areas are in the vicinity of schools and homes where many children will be regularly walking and cycling. In 2014, 53 children under 16 were killed and 2,029 were seriously injured on British roads. And 80 per cent of them were on foot or bicycle at the time.
A trial of 20mph limits in Warrington found that pedestrian and cyclist casualties dropped by 36 per cent. And analysis of 75 20mph limit sites in Scotland found casualties dropped by 42 per cent.
Direct Line director Rob Miles said: “Adhering to the speed limit is such a simple way of helping to make our roads safer and is within all drivers’ gift. We urge drivers to be conscientious and to remember that speed limits exist for very good reasons and that it is a legal requirement to observe them.”
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DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH
Road safety charity Brake believes that keeping to speed limits can make the difference between life and death.
If a child runs into the road three car lengths ahead, a driver travelling at 30mph will not be able to stop in time, and will still be travelling at 28mph when they hit the child.
But a driver travelling at 20mph should just be able to stop in time, providing they are paying attention, have well-maintained brakes, and are driving in dry conditions.
There is plenty of evidence to show that lowering traffic speeds, and lowering limits to 20mph specifically, reduces casualties. (See story, left, for more details.