As part of National Road Safety Week Go 20 will be furthering their campaign for motorists to be limit their speed to 20mph in built up areas where schools, shops and residential homes are situated.

Although the initial reaction of some motorists is likely to be one of frustration, there is a fair weight of logic behind the campaign. 24% of deaths caused by collision can be attributed to excessive speed according to the RoSPA backed stoppingdistances.org.

Let’s look at a few more facts that might make that frustration dwindle some more. Two thirds of all road accidents involving injuries or death occur on roads with a speed limit of 30mph or less. 2010 saw 241 people die on our roads due in part to drivers breaking the speed limit.

go20 campaign billboard

The likelihood of pedestrian and car collision increase steadily up to 30mph and then begins to increase rapidly as speed exceeds 30mph. There are several reasons for this, stopping distance increases with speed and of course, the amount of time drivers have to react to what is happening right in front of them decreases. Braking distance also increases with speed and in fact, if the vehicle speed is doubled, the braking distance is increased by four times.

Go 20 say research shows that reducing your speed to 20mph in built up areas where pedestrians are likely to be encountered is an especially good move to protect children who can be more vulnerable as they are less likely to be able to judge the speed of an oncoming vehicle. This is something we learn to do as we get older and have more experience with daily traffic. As a sobering thought, across the UK an average of 26 people are either killed or injured seriously on our roads every day – seven of these victims are children.

20mph sign belfast

Where 20mph limits have been introduced, Go 20 say that walking and cycling has increased as people feel safer and the roads become less of a threat. But do we really want this? It seems we do, 71% of those interviewed for a survey by British Social Attitudes agreed that 20mph limits would be a good idea in relevant areas.

As the law stands, the Department for Transport has the authority to make these changes, and so far the default limit remains 30mph. Although the DFT has suggested that local authorities consider 20mph limits in certain areas.

lollipop lady outside school

Where I live there are two schools, in an attempt to decrease the speed of commuters during the morning rush hour various speed bumps have been added to the road outside the two schools. While this does have some effect on decreasing the speed of traffic on a fairly long straight road, I have my doubts. 4×4 vehicles can easily cruise over these road obstacles without any concerns and the amount of traffic calming also tends to take motorists eyes off the danger of pedestrians crossing as they concentrate on weaving around the humps and bumps. In my opinion it’s not the answer, making the speed limit 20mph with added cameras might indeed be the solution.

The Go 20 advertising campaign is launched by independent road safety charity Brake this week in partnership with several other charities, and I must say the advertisements are strikingly good as you can see. All three billboard posters have been photographed by Sean de Sparengo. The well known photographer also takes the credit for the direction of videos by Take That among others which all adds to his impressive body of work. The Go 20 campaign is coming to a billboard near you soon.

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