Average speed cameras will be used to enforce a proposed 20mph limit on urban roads

Motorists face 20mph speed limits on urban roads, enforced with average speed cameras, if new rules proposed by the Government get the green light.

The proposed restrictions are part of new road safety legislation intended to cut road deaths by a third over the next decade. Variable speed limits will be introduced on main roads near schools, with digital signs instructing drivers to reduce their speed.

Average speed cameras, commonly used on motorways, will enforce the 20mph restrictions instead of speed humps. The Home Office is expected to approve the use of average speed cameras in urban zones within the next few months.

A consultation document on this new road safety strategy will be published before the end of this year which will set out tough measures and specific targets for reducing road deaths.

Along with the widespread 20mph restrictions in town a lower drink-drive limit is also being proposed in the Government dossier, along with six penalty points for seriously breaking the speed limit and for not wearing seatbelts.

Although road deaths have fallen by 35 percent since 2006, Jim Fitzpatrick, the Road Safety Minister, told The Times, “We could reduce crashes still further with the help of more 20mph zones”. He pointed towards Sweden’s “Vision Zero” system, which rejects the idea that some roads deaths are always inevitable accidents. “We want to get back to the top (of the road safety league),” Fitzpatrick said.

Studies on the benefit of 20mph zones are being hurried through by the Department for Transport in order to persuade local councils to adopt the proposals. The DfT is also developing cheaper speed limit signs to reduce the logistical cost of implementing new 20mph restrictions on roads.

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16 May 2008

I am all for 20mph speed limits in very built up areas, however the thought of being constantly monitored does not appeal to me at all. If you have to basically watch your speedo to make sure you're doing the right speed then you're not watching the road.

Furthermore some speed limits are not in sensible places. In essex there are relatively main roads which cry out for 20mph limits, yet don't have them, yet perfectly good roads are restricted to 30mph when 40mph would be far more suitable.

Also do we really need to litter our roads with even more signs. Driving through London as I have to do regularly is so stressful. Not so much because of the traffic, but trying to keep up with what the speed limit is, what lane I should be in etc etc is almost impossible. Perhaps we all need co-drivers???

One final point, how often have you driven down a road and suddenly thought 'whats the speed limit'? You can go for ages without seeing a speed limit sign which is unacceptable. The small speed limit signs which are often attached to lampposts are superb - they are unintrusive, yet tell you just what you need to know. They should be used far more regularly. Also the speed limit should be stuck to the back of speed cameras rather than just a large splash of yellow.

16 May 2008

Let me re-interprit the propoganda from the Dept for Transport for the layman:

Motorists face 20mph speed limits on urban roads.. Motorists face slower progress creating more congestion

as part of new legislation intended to cut road deaths by a third over the next decade.. Big Bro ignores all road engineers expert advise for the past 50 years that lowering speed limits has no impact on lowering accidents. Period.

Variable speed limits will be introduced on main roads near schools.., the number of deaths by schools caused by motorists can be counted on 1 finger or 2 if you wish to really insult the government for not teaching the Green Cross Code to children

A consultation document.. hired crones and 'yes-men' - the truth is out there but these guys won't find it.. on this new road safety strategy.. pointless safety doctrine.. will be published before the end of this year.. and debunked within 2 weeks - not that Govt listens even though Labour 'promised to' 20 times after their Council Election slaughter.. The document will set out tough measures and specific targets for reducing road deaths. they can't manage to set out measures or targets on reducing road congestion though - where there's a will there's a way.. where there's no will there's a bunch of useless w*nkers!... the Home Office.. Big Brother .. is expected to approve.. give away our civil right to privacy on urban streets without public consultation ..the use of average speed cameras in 20mph urban zones within the next few months... rubber stamp crass stupidity and urban spying

a lower drink-drive limit is also being proposed .. half a glass of beer has about a 0.004 second impact on your braking ability - pointless!.. in the Government dossier, don't mention Iraq/WMD for accuracy.. along with six penalty points for seriously breaking the speed limit and for not wearing seatbelts. at 20mph your seatbelt is close to pointless

Jim Fitzpatrick, the Road Safety Minister, told The Times, “We could reduce crashes still further with the help of more 20mph zones”. Irish Bull Sh*tter ...He pointed towards Sweden’s “Vision Zero” system, ..Zero Vision you mean - the blind leading the blind.. which rejects the idea that some roads deaths are always inevitable accidents...so the next poltician in a car accident gets sacked for not being perfect - Yippee...“We want to get back to the top (of the road safety league),” Fitzpatrick said. We want spy cameras on all urban streets to maintain Britains leadership as the worlds most spyed on nation (Totalitarian States included)

Studies on the benefit of 20mph zones ..anyone checked the car fume levels?.. are being hurried through by the Department for Transport in order to persuade local councils to adopt the proposals. public cash will be used to bribe Councils... The DfT is also developing cheaper speed limit signs to reduce the logistical cost of implementing new 20mph.. could they pay for our petrol bills with the 'savings'

16 May 2008

I'd certainly agree with 20mph limits around school, but why not just have a sign and different road markings eg 2 green lines instead of yellow or whatever to indicate you are near a school? A cynic would suggest "cos they wouldn't get any more money from us!", but I'd suggest... err, bugger... can't think of any other reason!

16 May 2008

We can never get to be top of the international road safety lists while our road surfaces stay descended to at or below 3rd world standards. If our tyres were in as bad a state as the roads we would quite rightly be banned.

The politically correct no nothings are obviously riding around in chauffeur driven limos and seem to not understand that you need two mated surfaces to generate friction for braking and steering.

They are also detached from the reality that safety comes from watching the road not your dashboard.

20mph limits around a school in school hours is fine but a road side sensor that lights up if you're going too fast means you can stay safely watching the road - ah but they won't raise millions in tax from them.............

16 May 2008

Ianf - I think what you were going to suggest is the "saving" government claims to be making on cheaper signs (a first public saving ever announced in 15yrs under Labour!) which will be about £1.20 per sign won't make up for £25,000 per camera they install.

You say you agree with 20mph limits by schools but 80% of kids are driven home so as long as the other 20% don't run onto/across the road (we now have spy-camera lollipop men afterall) what difference does it make if the cars doing 20mph or 40mph when they're cleared to go through?

And this expense only lasts 2 to 3 hours a day (school tipping in and out times) so 21 to 22 hours a day it sits there lamely idling away time like a Transport Minister. Forgive me for the outrageous suggestion of saving public money and finding a cheap solution (not that I think there's any evidence - justifcation - there's a problem in the first place)!!

16 May 2008

I'm all for this 20mph speed limit in residential areas. That would bring us into line with Germany and such like where they have very low speed limits in residential areas. Indeed most new German residential developments do not have 'roads' as such. They have paved shared spaces where nobody has priority over anyone else and it works.

What is absolutely idiotic is the average speed camera proposal within these zones. Think I'd feel safer on a road where everybody is doing a million miles an hour but watching the road than doing 20mph and staring at their speedo with anxiety for fear of getting a ticket.

I'm not some speed hating eco-weenie, but I think this is well overdue. Surely it would also do away with the need for car damaging, fuel wasting speed bumps which has to be a good thing?

16 May 2008

[quote neil.beckingham]We can never get to be top of the international road safety lists while our road surfaces stay descended to at or below 3rd world standards. [/quote]

So you want the govenment to spend more money.

[quote neil.beckingham]ah but they won't raise millions in tax from them.............[/quote]

But you want them to have less.

I'm all for the government spending more on useful things (road building) by spending less on useless things (TV adverts to make people eat 5 portions of fruit a day). But if you are going to cry "More govenment spending" at the same time as "less taxes" it needs to be quantified with some form of constructive suggestion.

I don't really follow the thoery that speed cameras are there for revenue anyway. They make £25 million a year, which sounds a lot but in govenment terms it really is a meaningless sum. They could raise the same amount by increasing fuel duty by £0.00063 per litre. If they did that the petrol companies would probably just absorb it, so in political terms this really isn't worth the effort.

(My maths may be wrong here, I'm assuming 33 Million vehicles on the roads, doing an average 10000 miles a year at 38 miles per gallon, thus using 39500 million litres of fuel. Hopefully I'm in the right ballpark, but feel free to correct me.)

16 May 2008

P.S. My figures for speed camera revenue are taken from the 2005 stats at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/foi/responses/2005/mar/speedcamerarevenue/revenuefromspeedcameras

I have increased that figure by around 25% to account for extra cameras in the last few years.

16 May 2008

I am all for the 20 mph limit around schools. As many schools involve stopping to let children cross I am not sure an average speed camera will do much good.

Why is the minister so keen to reach the top of the accident free statistics? Road safety will alwyas be a balance between reasonable traffic flow and the ineviatable accidents (human errors will always cause them unless speed is reduced to walking pace like the original man with a flag proceeding a motor vehicle).

One example I detest is using line of sigh barriers at roundabouts to ensure traffic stops rather than looks for a gap to filter into. They improve the accident statistics (mainly rear end shunts at the give way line) but are dreadful for traffic flow and emissions.

The accident rate needs to be one of a number of targets not the only one.

17 May 2008

It should be almost a reflex action for a good driver to reduce speed at appropriate points (say 30mph in urban 'lit' areas, 20 at schools, and so on, once a simple painted road sign -forget those far-fetched flashing digital types- is in view). That the Government is introducing these inanely expensive measures just to enforce such a basic skill, to me points only to two issues, either that we (UK) drivers are so stupid hence require such treatment , or the powers that be are so clueless and out of touch with real road use that they actually do not realise the hopelessness of such measures. Tragically, both points would seem to be true in some part - witness drivers who do not use indicators/mirrors, or ignore road signs,conditions,etc in utter stupidity - and ill-judged speed limits and other regulations on the other hand. The greatest sadness however lies in the fact that it's law-abiding careful drivers like you and me who get the stick in all this madness. It's actually laughable to think a digital sign or even camera will stop a determined road rogue from ingoring that, especially for only 20mph!!. What happened to 'sleeping policemen' , which are physically, instantly and indiscriminatley effective (unless that they are no cash-cows obviously)? Also insn't it really poor driver judgement/skill rather than speed per se the factor that often causes accidents - in which case concentrating on the latter would simply serve little purpose where driver skills lack? The bottom line is , let our legislators make realistic well-judged rules that are practical on the road (Norway should be a good example in this), ideally based on the assumption that most drivers are sensible, and then provide stiff penalty for the minority who flout these rules. Such a careful, sensibly and realistically tailored regulatory environment encouraging good driving in the first rather than geared to brutal control, always produces top results at minimal cost and no one can actually complain if well-judged.

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