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Casualties in 20mph zones UP by 24%
The number of people killed or injured on Britain’s 20mph speed-limited roads has risen by nearly a quarter, according to the Department for Transport’s 2011 figures.
Last year, 2,262 casualties in 20mph zones were recorded – albeit 1,966 of them classed as minor injuries – marking a 24% increase on 2010’s toll.
Casualties recorded on 30mph roads dropped by 1% over 2010 levels however, with more than 125,000 individuals hurt as a result of a road traffic accident.
The latest figures have sparked a debate as to whether 20mph zones – often implemented in urban and recreational areas – actually help to improve road safety.
Campaigners have suggested lower speed limits make crashes less likely to occur, and reduce the ramifications when they do, but the latest results cast doubt on this theory.
Local councils were given the power to designate 20mph zones back in 2009, with a view to improving road safety.
According to local transport minister Norman Baker, “it’s vital that speed limits are suitable for local conditions and councils are best placed to determine what these are, based on local knowledge and the views of the community.”
Questioning the argument, Director of Policy at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, Neil Greig, highlighted that the latest evidence on 20mph areas “now seems very mixed and contradictory.”
DfT data shows there were seven deaths in 20mph zones last year, while 289 serious injuries occurred over 2011, a 17% and 39% rise over 2010 statistics respectively.
The latest figures come after it was announced last month that UK road deaths rose for the first time since 2003, with the serious injury toll growing in 2011, the first time since 1994.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents highlighted the increase in 20mph casualties was worrying, however, they only represented a small number compared with accidents on 30mph roads.
Proportionally however, the UK has much less of its road network designated as 20mph zones when compared to 30mph limit areas.
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