The speed limit on A-roads will be reduced to 50mph in an attempt to cut the number of road deaths by a third. Drivers also face limits of 20mph on residential roads and near schools, in proposals for ten-year safety targets set by the government.
This is the first time the government has set a specific target for cutting road deaths in Britain. The new restrictions should, according to the government, cut road deaths down to 2,000 from the 3,000 deaths we currently accumulate each year.
In addition to reducing the speed limit the Home Office will approve new average speed cameras to catch motorists travelling over the limit in residential areas. Motorists caught speeding 15mph over the limit will get 6 points on their licence, a large reprimand in comparison to the current 3 point penalty.
These are some of the further regulations which may come into force this year as part of the same proposal:
- Fines for not wearing a seat belt to double to £60.
- Drivers who fail to wear a seat-belt to be given 3 penalty points.
- Police will no longer need an excuse to stop and breathalize a driver.
- Road side breath-tests to become admissible in court, eliminating the need for additional testing at police stations.
- Police to issue fixed penalties for careless driving, reducing the need for police paperwork.
- £60 fines to be issued for failing to signal, or passing too close to a cyclist.
So it looks like the government are really on a strategic mission to improve road safety throughout Britain. Of course, some of these new rules and regulations will no doubt cause a divide between our nation’s more vocal motorists. There is always the argument that these speed cameras and fines are designed solely to make vast amounts of revenue rather than save lives.
The AA believes that reducing the speed limit in a blanket manner is certainly the wrong approach, as it does not address specific road safety problems. They stress that whatever the limit, drivers should never drive to it, but rather drive at a speed appropriate to the road design and conditions.
Interestingly, government figures have shown that most drivers do in fact alter their speed according to road, weather and traffic conditions. In fact the average speed on rural 60mph roads is 48mph in free-flowing conditions. Which really begs the question; why are we spending public money on such a vast scheme in the first place? Perhaps this is why the government have intertwined the above laws, enabling them to create extra annual revenue at the same time as trying to keep road deaths to a minimum.
Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick commented: “We’ve already made real improvements to the safety of our roads – there are now almost 17,000 fewer deaths or serious injuries in a year than there were in the mid-1990s. But it is intolerable that eight people are still dying on our roads each day. We want to make Britain’s roads the safest in the world.”
Lets hope that this time next year we will see promising results to the start of a victorious ten year campaign and see far less tragic deaths occurring on the A-roads of Britain.
If you feel strongly against the 50mph national speed limit you can sign a petition at this link: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/noNSLreduction/