Drivers against widespread 20mph limits

Drivers against widespread 20mph limits

The idea of a blanket 20mph speed limit on urban roads would be opposed by around half of the drivers in the UK, according to a new study.

Half of the drivers polled by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) are against the idea, with a third in favour and a fifth still undecided.

Some 94% of people believe that lower speed limits outside schools are a good idea, while over a third (34%) think roads near parks should also be slowed down to protect pedestrians.

Delving further into the research a total 21% think there should be a lower limit near hospitals and shops, although just 8% would agree on a 20mph limit near cycle lanes.

RAC head of external affairs Pete Williams says: "The RAC supports the use of 20mph speed limits in the vicinity of schools and high risk areas and their wider use in residential areas where supported by local residents themselves. Such limits are becoming increasingly common and can be an effective measure to improve road safety. However, we should be careful not to reduce existing 30mph speed limits on urban main roads and 'through roads' as these often play a significant role in ensuring good traffic flow and minimising congestion."

Just over a third (34%) of older drivers seem to be in favour of 20mph as a speed limit in urban areas, while over half (55%) of young drivers are against the idea.

Such a restriction would make pedestrians safer according to over three-quarters of respondents, with just a fifth thinking it would better protect cyclists.

Meanwhile over two thirds (68%) of drivers would be in favour of a re-education course for those caught doing up to 30mph in a 20mph zone.

Pete Williams continued: "It is important that it is clear to all road users what speed limit is applicable on which road and that the implementation of 20mph is consistent across the country. We are therefore calling on the Government to provide clear guidelines to local authorities on the appropriate implementation of 20mph zones and clarity on what constitutes a 'through road' as opposed to a residential street.

"However, our research for our annual Report on Motoring suggests that compliance with 20mph limits has reduced as the use of 20mph limits has increased, with fewer motorists now complying with 20mph limits than they are with 30mph. Those motorists who are not complying with 20mph limits are in the majority of cases still travelling at less than 30mph and the average speed in 20mph zones is 21-22mph. The deteriorating compliance in 20mph limits is a real cause for concern which implies more work is needed to improve compliance with this lower speed limit."

Copyright Press Association 2014