Road Safety GB comment on reducing the speed limit on country roads

12.06 | 4 July 2018 |

Road Safety GB says reducing all speed limits isn’t the best way to make roads safer in Lincolnshire; but affecting driver behaviour is.

A new report published earlier this week recommends that the 60mph speed limit should be lowered on thousands of miles of rural roads.

The Road Safety Management Capacity Review, commissioned by the DfT and carried out by the Systra consultancy, recommends reviewing national speed limits, with a particular emphasis on single carriageways in the countryside.

The report suggests that 5% decrease in mean speed could produce a 30% reduction in deaths on these roads.

Speaking to the BBC Radio Lincolnshire breakfast programme, Steve Horton, Road Safety GB’s director of communications, said: “When we did something very similar a few years ago, on some roads just by reducing that national speed limit it did actually have the effect of increasing the mean speeds.

“That comes back to this issue where some drivers see speed limits as a target rather than a limit.

“Of course, they are limits and just because you have a road that has a 60mph limit, it doesn’t mean you should do 60mph all the time.”

Steve added: “There is no doubt of the strong link between speed of impact and severity of crash; the faster you travel, the harder you hit and the more damage you do.

“Of course it’s ridiculous when drivers ask why some roads are 60mph when they are clearly narrow or winding, but the speed limit sign is not an indication of the appropriate or safe speed.

“In my area, on certain roads when we replaced the national speed limit sign with a 50mph roundel some drivers seemed to take this as affirmation of a ‘safe’ speed, so by giving a number in the sign actually could be seen as counterproductive in those instances.

“Decisions over speed limits need to be taken at a local level and mindful of local circumstance. However, a key to reducing crashes is in helping drivers to make the right judgement of appropriate speed whilst remaining within the speed limit.”



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