Opinion divided on plans for 20mph speed limits

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A NATIONAL driving organisation has claimed that 20 mph speed limits — with a scheme proposed by Nottingham City Council for roads in Bulwell — are ‘ineffective’ in reducing road accidents.

The Association of British Drivers (ABD) says in a statement: “There are now frequent calls from road safety fanatics for 20 mph speed limits to be imposed on all suburban roads, even major “A” roads that run through towns and cities.

“But the historic evidence is being ignored. Before 1930, Great Britain had a blanket 20 mph speed limit across the whole country. But road deaths in the year before this limit was abandoned were about 7,300, compared with about 1,900 in recent years. They also fell in the years immediately after 1930 when they had been rising before.

“So the moral is surely that simply putting up signs without road engineering or other measures will have negligible impact on casualties. That is exactly, of course, what the Department of Transport used to say.

“No doubt there were some people who ignored the increasingly unrealistic 20 mph limit back in 1930, as there are some today. But the ABD has always argued that speed-limit setting should be based on a more reliable method which has been demonstrated to be both the safest and the one that encourages compliance.”

But the Brain Injury Group (BIG) is calling for drivers to ‘Go 20’ around homes, schools and shops and wants 20 mph limits in built-up areas.

BIG director Sally Dunscombe says: “Our members encounter a wide range of brain-injury people and a high proportion have suffered their injury as a result of a road crash.

“Together, we work with people whose injuries are considered the fault of a third party, indicating that many of the road crashes that our clients are involved were preventable through more careful driving.”

Nottingham City Council insists that 20 mph schemes have proved ‘very successful’ to make roads safer for motorists and pedestrians.

“The Bulwell area has been selected because it has a mixture of shops, schools, communioty centres and residential streets.”

n OUR PHOTO shows a 20mph speed limit in force on Aston Drive in Bulwell — DISPIC NHUD12-2139-1