Support for the lowering of speed limits in 30mph zones has grown to represent 44% of the country, a new survey compiled by the UK’s largest independent road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart, has shown. The 1,000-person survey used an online questionnaire, with the results showing a 13% increase for support of more 20mph zones compared with IAM RoadSmart’s last survey from seven years ago. It suggests the public could back the rolling out of more 20 zones, particularly in residential areas or near schools.
The survey’s 1,000 respondents represent are a “representative sample of gender, age, and UK region”, suggesting this shift in attitudes consistent with the increase of average miles driven across Britain throughout the last decade. The more you know, the more you slow? Naturally, the pandemic put a temporary halt on the trend, but you won’t need us to quote figures to confirm that road traffic has almost fully bounced back. Traffic had been growing by about 2% a year prior to lockdown.
With that in mind, and considering more people are likely to be aware of their local traffic levels after having spent months working from home, you can see how support to improve road safety would become a higher priority. Indeed, 49% respondents put improving road safety down as their main reason for backing 20 zones; 34% said reducing accidents and saving lives were their reasons. 89% of respondents were in support of the greater rollout of 20mph zones outside schools, while just over half (54%) wanted their local roads to become a 20 route.
There’s still sizable support for keeping 30 zones in place. 56% of respondents opted to keep things just as they are. The IAM RoadSmart’s Director of Policy & Research, Neil Greig, admitted that a blanket reduction on speed limits isn’t necessarily the best action to take. He believes certain areas constitute attention, and would like to see “each situation reviewed on a case-by-case basis”. Makes sense.
Attitudes towards improving safety on Britain’s roads could very well see more 20 zones implemented in the future, then, but only where appropriate. It’s hard to argue against that.