In the latest twist in the debate about the merits of 20pmh zones/limits, the Liberal Democrats have put forward plans to cut speed limits from 30mph to 20mph in residential areas, according to the Telegraph.
The Lib Dems say the proposal, which will be voted on at their party conference in September, is designed to cut the number of road deaths and encourage more parents to allow their children to walk to school.
But the AA warned that while it was not opposed to 20mph limits where appropriate, a blanket introduction would be “totally impractical”.
The motion to be discussed at the Lib Dem conference reads: “Among EU member states, the UK has one of the poorest levels of children walking or cycling to school.
“Many parents cite danger from fast-moving traffic as a reason for not allowing their children to travel to school on foot or by bike.
“Lowering the normal residential speed limit from 30mph to 20mph would make roads safer; in particular a study by the Transport Research Laboratory has found 20mph limits decrease child pedestrian deaths by 70%.
“It has been shown that half of people hit by a car at 30mph will die and only 10% of people hit by a car at 20mph.”
Recent figures released by the DfT show that while deaths and injuries in 20mph zones rose last year from 1,827 in 2010 to 2,262 in 2011, they fell by 1% in 30mph areas. However, the number of 20mph zones across the country will have increased considerably during 2011.
A spokesman for the AA said: “Converting all roads to 20mph would be totally impractical and would impact on driving times and add to costs and delays.
“It’s great in pedestrianised areas, but just slapping up 20mph signs would not make things safer.”
The Association of British Drivers (ABD) took a similarly sceptical stance, saying they “deplore” the idea, citing a lack of evidence. Brian Gregory, ABD chairman, said: "As with most pet road safety ideas proposed by amateur enthusiasts – speed humps, speed cameras etc – there is little attempt to collect scientifically sound evidence of the benefit of such ideas. No proper controlled, "double-blind" trials are undertaken.
“The enthusiasts rely on the strength of their rhetoric and the use of selective data to make their case. Don’t be fooled by these methods but look at the facts. And remember that all road safety schemes should be cost justified because if there are better things to spend the money on, then that is where the limited funds should be spent.”
Click here to read the full Telegraph report.