The government hasn’t been having a very easy time recently, so we all awoke this morning to one of its trademark ‘eye catching initiatives’.

Excitable broadsheet newspapers told us that speed limit on many single carriageway A-roads could be reduced to 50mph and 20mph zones will proliferate in urban areas as part of a ‘ten year safety target’ that would see road deaths reduced from 3000 to 2000.

Enforcement of these new speed limits would be via the government’s favorite piece of new technology: average speed cameras.

Of course the government won’t be paying for the cameras, so your local council will have to make sure enough drivers are breaking the law, or they won’t break even.

But will lowering speed limits actually cut deaths?

According to National Statistics website, 2946 people were killed on UK roads in 2007. 1443 were in cars, 646 were pedestrians, 589 were motorcyclists and 147 pedestrians.

A couple of years ago I used a report of police accident statistics to work out that ‘breaking the speed limit’ was the main cause of 5 percent of accidents and 12 percent of fatalities.