Shake-up to speed limits planned

Reductions to the speed limits on single-carriageway rural roads and residential streets have been proposed by the Government.

The plans are part of a commitment to cut annual road deaths by a third by 2020. This will be aided by giving council highway authorities the option of whether to lower the limits on 60mph roads with high accident rates to 50mph, and recommending the introduction of 20mph speed limits 'in all streets which are primarily residential in nature'.

Transport minister Jim Fitzpatrick is proposing to annually publish maps highlighting the main roads with the poorest safety records to encourage an improvement in standards.

Changes to the current driving test have also been announced, aimed at tackling the 'unacceptably high' number of collisions involving 18 to 24-year-olds and newly-qualified drivers.

Mr Fitzpatrick said newly-qualified drivers had revealed that the current test regime did not properly prepare them for driving unsupervised.

The Government plans to deliver the changes through a phased implementation programme, with the first intended to improve the learning process through changes to the theory and practical driving tests, and the addition of further options for learning and qualifications.

Copyright © Press Association 2009