A study by Edinburgh Napier University has shown that the rollout of 20mph speed limits across the Scottish Borders has reduced average speeds by 3mph. With previous research showing that there is an average 4 per cent reduction in collisions with each 1mph reduction in average speed on rural roads, the study demonstrates the significant knock-on effect the new speed limit is likely to have, particularly when seen within the context of the national Road Safety Framework to reduce deaths and serious injuries to zero by 2050.
Following the headline-grabbing news that Liz Truss is open to the idea of turning the UK motorway network into an autobahn-style system, we took a closer look at the idea. Of course, we all know that both Truss and Sunak are electioneering at the moment, doing their best to tell tory members what they think they want to hear. But, however sincere the motivation turns out to be, dispatching with the speed limit will have an inevitable impact on both road safety and the tyre market. So, with that in mind, this month’s column is something of a thought experiment. What would happen if Liz Truss became prime minister and got her way when it comes to turning motorways into autobahns?
As the conservative party chooses a new leader, something that will result in a new Prime Minister of the UK, both candidates have weighed in with their views on transport policy. For her part, Liz Truss has said she is willing to look at making motorway speed limits “advisory”.
Speeding fines for the most serious cases in England and Wales rose by up to 50 per cent with effect from Monday 24 April after new sentencing guidelines took effect. The previous limit for a speeding fine was 100 per cent of the driver’s weekly wage, up to £1,000 or £2,500 if they were caught on a motorway.
The government’s official annual road casualty report, released recently, has confirmed figures showing disappointingly slow progress in reducing road casualties in the UK. 1,713 people were killed in 2013, at a rate of five a day, 2 per cent fewer than in 2012. 21,657 people suffered serious injuries, at a rate of 59 a day, 6 per cent fewer than in 2012.
Campaign group Alliance of British Drivers is calling for Government to halt the roll out of 20mph zones following further increases in 20mph accidents. The organisation has also questioned the motivation of proponents who continue to advocate a national roll out of 20mph zones, despite the ongoing Government investigation and the increased recorded accident statistics in current 20mph zones.