The Welsh Government has become a world trailblazer with their plans to set the speed limit in all residential areas at 20mph. This plan will see the speed limit in areas with lamp posts less than 200 yards apart, which are currently subject to a 30mph limit, dropped to 20mph. This move is welcomed by many speed campaigners – although not everybody is happy about it. So, what is so great about twenty?
According to a range of organisations, including the Welsh government and groups campaigning for the universal implementation of a 20mph limit, dropping that critical ten miles will reduce the risk of serious injuries as a result of vehicles and vulnerable road users. By making the roads safer for walkers, pro-20 groups say that more people will walk or cycle, which will have a multitude of benefits, including reducing congestion and pollution and improving mental and physical health of entire communities.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), reducing the speed of vehicles is the best way to make the roads safer for pedestrians. In 2018, half of all casualties on our roads happened on 30mph roads, which makes sense as you will find more pedestrians and cyclists in urban areas. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), nearly half (45%) of pedestrians who are hit by a car going at 30mph are seriously injured compared to 5% who are hit by a car going 20mph. This is compelling data, especially for built up areas that are commonly used by more vulnerable road users as well as heavy traffic from vehicles.
The finer details of the new speed limit are yet to be confirmed, with the planned changes to the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 rolling out in September 2023. However, at the moment it Is anticipated that the limit will affect most residential areas and that those caught breaking the limit will be rewarded with up to three points on their licence as well as a fine of at least £100. Whilst the implementation of the new limit is anticipated to cost £32m, the Welsh Government project £58m savings over the next thirty years as a result of reduced healthcare requirements and reduced emissions.
Keeping up with changes
Staying up to date with changing road legislation can be challenging, particularly if you have had time off the road. One way to embed new rules so that they become instinct is to have a few driving lessons; you never know, you may manage to undo some poor driving habits, too.
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