Smart Transport

Campaigners urge reduction in urban speed limits to reduce NHS burden

A national campaign led by 20’s Plenty for Us has urged the Government to reduce urban speed limits from 30mph to 20mph to ease pressure on the NHS with fewer road casualties.

20’s Plenty for Us has joined with 460 local community campaigns to support Lower the Baseline, a initiative set up by doctors to protect NHS services through public health interventions.

Rod King MBE, founder and campaign director of 20’s Plenty for Us, said: “It is in the Government’s power and interest to change all 30mph limits to 20mph by making appropriate public announcements, without any need to change road signs.

“The precedent already exists to change national speed limits in an emergency.”

The Government changed national speed limits in the 1974 fuel crisis to save petrol and King said it must do this in the 2020 Covid-19 crisis to save lives.

Supporting the move, Dr Robert Hughes (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) and 109 other doctors wrote in the Times on 25th March: “..each month there are nearly 3,000 road traffic collision-related admissions to NHS hospitals in England alone. Lowering and enforcing speed limits would reduce the frequency and severity of road traffic collisions.”

In England alone there are around 35,000 non-fatal admissions to hospital every year related to road traffic accidents. In Canada, lowering the speed limit from 40km/h to 30km/h (20mph) was associated with a 28% decrease in pedestrian-motor vehicle collisions and a 67% decrease in major and fatal injuries.

Population health expert Prof. Sunil Bhopal, said “We therefore suggest that the government urgently explore an emergency reduction of all national speed limits to 50mph, and to 20mph in urban areas.”

In March, TfL reduced the speed limit within the congestion charging zone to 20MPH to reduce unnecessary casualties.

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  • Emissions Guy - 16/04/2020 09:38

    The trade off is more pollution as the lower speed limit of 20 will require drivers to drop down at least one gear. This will increase the emissions due to more fuel being burnt for a given distance. As proven by the deterioration in MPG for those that use instantaneous MPG displays in their vehicles. The same might apply when dropping to 50 MPH, depending upon driving style.

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