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Almost half of motorists support blanket 20mph limits

Support for reducing the speed limit on all urban roads from 30mph to 20mph has increased in recent years with almost half of drivers now in favour. 

Overall, 44% of drivers agree all current 30mph limits should be replaced with a 20mph limit – that’s up 13% from the same representative sample surveyed in 2014

Research by road safety charity IAM RoadSmart found 44% of drivers agree all current 30mph limits should be replaced with a 20mph limit – that’s up 13% from the same representative sample surveyed in 2014.

Main reasons for supporting a blanket reduction in the speed limit are to ‘make the roads safer’ (49%) and ‘reduce accidents / saving lives’ (24%). But those against argue that 20mph is too slow and that individual roads or areas should be considered rather than a blanket ban.

Support for 20mph zones rocketed when it came to areas outside schools – 89% of respondents were in favour.

Drivers were also more supportive when it came to the suggestion of a 20mph limit on the road outside their house – 54% would support this; much higher than 44% when the survey was last conducted seven years ago.

The research comes as Transport for London (TfL) asks for views on plans to reduce speed limits across all its remaining roads in Westminster by spring 2022.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy & research, said: “Improving road safety is key but a blanket ban on reducing 30mph speed limits to 20mph speed limits isn’t necessarily the best route.

“Each situation needs to be decided on a case-by-case basis, with local considerations and consultation playing an important role.”

Further findings from the study found strong support for a more lenient approach for drivers caught speeding up to 30mph in a 20mph zone, with 64% of respondents favouring a tailored driver education course rather than a fine for offenders.

Greig added: “The key requirement for any 20mph zone must be that it is self-enforcing and self-explaining through signposting and road markings that makes sense, or by installing high-quality traffic calming features.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.

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