Brake welcomes DVSA clarification on speed in urban areas

12.00 | 6 June 2014 | | 2 comments

The road safety charity Brake has welcomed the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s (DVSA) clarification of its written guidance for driving examiners on appropriate speed in built-up areas.

Brake says the clarification comes in response to concerns it raised, over whether driving test candidates could potentially be penalised for driving at 20mph in 30mph areas, even where the “lower speed is more appropriate to the road environment”.

The DVSA document that contains the guidance now reads as follows: "The speed limit is a limit and not a target and there are many instances especially in narrow residential streets when candidates may need to reduce their speed considerably lower than the speed limit – this should not be considered as a fault."

Brake says that this reflects advice already given to examiners by the DVSA during training.

Welcoming the change, Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "It is critical that drivers learn right from the start of their driving careers that speed limits are limits, not targets, and that slowing down is one of the most important things they can do to safeguard others.

“This change will help give drivers the confidence to make the choice to protect people, and slow down to 20mph in communities, even in areas where the limit is still 30mph."


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    Perhaps the problem is that understandably exam candidates may feel some anxiety whilst taking the test, and not wishing to fail may appear to be driving with caution and restraint as opposed to appear to be possibly criticised for being too fast and inconsiderate, or lacking an ability to spot dangers and act appropriately. It’s a very subjective issue as one person ie the driver, may see greater danger than another, remembering that the other is an experienced examiner. Whilst driving too slow could be considered an offence of without reasonable consideration for other road users, to others it could be just a case of due diligence.

    bob craven Lancs
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    I had heard of people failing their test because of, reputedly, too low a speed at certain times but found it hard to believe. The fact that it’s necessary for the DVSA to officially confirm that driving below a speed limit is ‘okay’, I find unbelievable. Brake’s spokesperson is no better talking about drivers “..making the choice to protect people..” Choice? Was it optional before?

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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