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Home > News > 20 mph speed limits reduce road accident casualties by 40%

22nd February 2010

20 mph speed limits reduce road accident casualties by 40%

According to the British Medical Journal, a report published in December 2009 found that the introduction of 20 mph speed limits in some urban areas of London has resulted in a reduction in road accident casualties of over 40%.

The research was based on an analysis of road casualty data for London over a 20 year period. There were 399 zones introduced over a 15 year period and the authors had information on the decisions and implementation dates for 385 of these.

Highest road accident casualty reductions in younger children

The survey found that the highest percentage reduction in road accident casualties was in young children.

The highest percentage reduction by injury severity was in the category of casualties who were killed or seriously injured and, of those who were killed or seriously injured, the number of children fell by half.

The number of pedestrians injured in road accidents fell by a third, cyclists almost 17%, and two-wheeled powered vehicles also by a third.

Further reductions in all road accident casualties

It is estimated that the introduction of the 20 mph zones in London prevents over 200 road accident casualties each year, of which approximately 27 would be killed or seriously injured.

To put that into perspective, the findings suggest that in broad terms, in London, the reduction in road accident casualties may have taken 20 years to achieve without the introduction of the 20 mph speed limit. This was based on an annual decline in road accident casualties without the 20 mph zones of 1.7%; a much lower reduction than the introduction of the 20mph speed limit has produced.

If more zones were introduced, casualty numbers could reduce further, possibly saving scores of people from being killed or seriously injured each year. However, in London, a large proportion of residential areas already operate the 20 mph speed limit so further reductions might be limited.

Road accident casualties falling in adjacent areas

The survey also found that the number of road accident casualties in adjacent roads also fell slightly overall, typically less than 10%, reflecting that the introduction of 20 mph zones did not appear to migrate casualties to other adjacent streets.

Extending the number of 20 mph zones

In conclusion, the authors of the report found that the introduction of a 20 mph speed limit was effective in reducing road accident injuries and deaths.

They also found that not only has the number of casualties in London reduced by over 40%, but also that there is a case for extending the introduction of such zones to other high casualty roads both in London and other major towns throughout the UK.

Local authorities are legally required to consult with all interested parties when considering the introduction of 20 mph limits. These include local residents, emergency services, and any organisation representing road users.

Making a road accident compensation claim

Clear Answers’ lawyers are specialists in all types of road accident compensation claims and have teams of experts waiting to help you, should you decide to instruct us to represent you in your accident claim.

Our advisers will be happy to talk you through the accident claims process, in plain English. They will provide you with expert legal advice, and answer any questions you may have regarding your road accident compensation claim.

If you or a family member has been injured in any type of road accident, whether a pedestrian, motorcyclist, cyclist or driver or passenger in a vehicle, please ring us on 0800 783 9019 and speak to one of our advisers. Alternatively, you may prefer to complete one of our online accident compensation claim forms and a representative will contact you as soon as possible.

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