20mph limits being rolled out at Durham schools
Durham County Council has launched its ‘Slow to 20 for Safer Streets’ campaign which is seeing 20mph speed limits rolled out on roads near a number of schools in the region.
The campaign, launched at St Cuthbert's Primary School in Chester-le-Street, aims to encourage safer driving and promises to deliver a range of benefits to pupils and the wider community.
The council says studies show that for every 1mph reduction in average speed the number of collisions and casualties fall by 6%.
It also points to evidence which suggests that where 20mph speed limits have been introduced there have been fewer casualties and more people have been encouraged to walk and cycle to school.
The ‘Slow to 20 for Safer Streets’ campaign comes after the council’s cabinet agreed to introduce part-time 20mph limits on main and distributor roads near 33 schools in the county where accident rates have been identified as being double the average.
The speed limits will be in effect at peak travelling times from Monday to Friday and drivers will be alerted by flashing warning signs.
St Cuthbert's Primary School is the first location where the new 20mph limit came into force. A further 12 will be introduced this year and the remaining 20 in 2016.
Clare Swales, head teacher at St Cuthbert's Primary School, said: “Our school council has worked extremely hard over the last year to raise awareness among the community of the dangers of driving too fast on the roads around school.
“We are delighted that, in partnership with the council, St Cuthbert's has become the first location for the 20mph speed limit to come into force. Children and families are looking forward to the scheme greatly improving safety on the surrounding roads and benefitting everyone on the journey to and from school.”
As part of the campaign road safety training will continue in schools, which includes child pedestrian training, Bikeability cycle training and road safety education. Pupils will also be helping to raise awareness in their communities by distributing leaflets to local residents.
Councillor Lucy Hovvels, cabinet member for adult and health services, added: “Slower driving speeds in residential areas will hopefully lead to a safer, healthier road environment. It can help improve road safety and help encourage people to be more active.
“Through time, as speeds in residential areas decrease there should be more and more positive outcomes for the local community.”