It’s pretty rare that you get to go faster than 20mph in most towns these days, but that’s the fastest that a parliamentary group reckons you should be allowed to go.
And how would these proposed new limits be enforced? With new cameras, of course, which would have the added benefit to local authorities of generating revenue.
One of many problems with the proposal, however, is that in order to catch drivers speeding at such a low level, a new type of average speed camera would need to be given Home Office approval.
The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (Pacts) reckons that lowering the current 30mph urban limit is the only way to meet the government’s self-imposed target of reducing road deaths by 40 per cent by 2010 compared to the figure for the mid-’90s.
Currently around 3200 people die on UK roads every year, a figure that has consistently dropped, thanks in part to advances in car technology such as seatbelts, airbags and anti-lock brakes.
The executive director of Pacts, Robert Gifford, said that: "Improving road safety is not an academic exercise. Deaths on our roads are preventable occurrences where society could and should do more to prevent them. Every year, the inhabitants of a town the size of Nottingham or Belfast are killed or injured on our roads."
We think that’s a highly misleading statement. In 2006, the last year for which statistics are available, there were 258,404 road casualties in Great Britain – five per cent less than in 2005 (incidentally, the City of Nottingham has a population of around 280,000, and greater Nottingham around 680,000, either of which makes Mr Gifford’s figures even more misleading).