Drivers not in favour of 20mph zones

According to research published today by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), drivers are against the idea of a blanket 20mph speed limit on urban roads,

The research shows that:

  • Half of drivers from the UK are against a blanket 20mph speed limit with under a third willing to embrace the idea and a fifth are undecided. Male drivers are more likely to be against the idea than female.
  • Fifty-five per cent of young drivers were against 20mph zones as a speed limit for towns while thirty-four per cent of older drivers were in favour.
  • Drivers are very supportive of lower speed limits outside schools, with ninety-four per cent of respondents agreeing that this would be a good idea. Areas with high numbers of pedestrians such as parks (34 per cent), hospitals and shops were the next most popular with 21 per cent of drivers in favour. Only eight per cent of respondents opted for 20 mph near cycle lanes.
  • Over three quarters of drivers believe that 20mph speed limits help to increase safety for pedestrians; however, only a fifth saw it as a positive advantage for cyclists. Pollution and noise were not seen as important benefits.

Using 20mph speed limit signs only to enforce lower limits was twice as popular as physical traffic calming measures and three times more popular than the use of speed cameras. Only a fifth of drivers think enforcing 20 limits should be a police priority.

Sixty-eight per cent of drivers would like to see a specially tailored re-education course for drivers caught doing up to 30mph in a 20mph zone.

There is a difference between speed limits and zones. Councils have the power to introduce 20 mph speed limits and zones without obtaining consent from the Secretary of State.

Speed zones are a collection of streets with a 20 mph limit whereas speed limits are set for individual roads. Some local authorities have set 20 mph speed limits on a number of individual roads so creating blanket coverage of residential areas with a 20 mph speed limit.

20 mph speed limits can be introduced without any form of traffic calming. In many areas they are being used across the whole area. Whilst not as effective as 20mph speed zones they can still produce significant lowering of speeds over a wide area for very little cost. Compliance is increased by publicity, driver awareness and community involvement. This can and does play a large part in self-enforcement.

For more information on speed management click here.
 

Published: 15 May 2014

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