Study finds 20mph speed limits have limited impact on road safety

A study has found that reducing speed limits to 20mph has little to no positive effect on road safety

20mph road sign

AS speed limits seem to getting tougher across the UK, a new study has found that limiting vehicles to just 20mph has little to no impact on the safety of road users.

The study has been published by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health and was carried out in Belfast with a pool of data that included 76 city centre roads. It compared the statistics of newly introduced 20mph roads and compared that to similar Northern Irish roads that had retained a 30 or even 40mph speed limit.

Autocar reports that the findings claim that there are no “statistically significant differences” in the frequency of crashes on roads where a 20mph limit had been brought in, going on to state that even the average speed of the traffic using the roads was not dissimilar. The study did highlight though that the footfall of traffic on the 20mph roads was lower, although that could be down to a variety of factors.

20mph speed limits provide no “statistically significant differences”

The report highlights the need for councils to become a little bit more creative when it comes to controlling vehicle speeds, be that through the use of traffic calming measures, such as traffic islands or speed bumps. Ultimately though, the job of controlling a vehicle’s speed lies with the person holding the handlebars or the steering wheel, and while nobody wants more speed cameras on the UK's roads, if the findings of the report are true, that might be the only option that councils have left to use.

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