Blanket 20mph zones are “putting lives at risk”, according to Tony Phillips of the Motor Schools Association (MSA) of Great Britain.
In an article in the MSA’s membership magazine ‘Newslink’, Mr Phillips, secretary of the MSA Greater London region, says he understands the need for 20mph zones and “to a large extent” agrees with them.
However, he then goes on to talk of the problems faced by driving instructors when taking lessons on “free-flowing main roads” where the limit is 20mph.
Mr Phillips says: “For me, the problem is that there are many roads within these zones that are free flowing main roads and don’t seem to have had many serious collisions, although I’m certainly not privy to that type of information.
“Because of this traffic speeds haven’t really slowed down that much and accordingly the people that tend to be most at risk are us ADIs, especially when we’re conducting learner lessons.
“We can’t just tell clients not to obey the speed limit and go with the flow so because of this we’re becoming victims of very aggressive and dangerous driving behaviour from other motorists.”
He points to an example of when his wife (an ADI) was overtaken “dangerously” by a bus on a two-way road which then “immediately cut her up to stop at a bus stop”.
As a result of his experiences and views, Mr Phillips says he is starting a campaign in his local borough of Lambeth, where a 20mph limit has now been imposed.
He said: “Typically, all they’ve (Lambeth Council) done is stuck up speed limit signs and guess what? Local motorists are generally ignoring them – or more to the point, most likely haven’t seen them.”
In response, Rod King, founder of 20’s Plenty for Us, described Mr Phillips’ views as "car centric".
Rod King said: "With Tony Phillips spending his days trying to protect novice drivers, who are learning how to drive to an acceptable level to pass their test, from errant drivers, who clearly drive in a manner to fail their test, then maybe he should be forgiven for such a car-centric view.
"However his contention that, even with two sets of eyes and ears, dual control and the benefits of wrapping themselves in a ton of steel, ADIs are most at risk on the roads is not credible.