New research by IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s largest independent road safety charity, reveals that support for reducing the speed limit on all urban roads from 30mph to 20mph has increased in recent years.
Overall, 44% of drivers surveyed agree all current 30mph limits should be replaced with a 20mph limit, a 13% increase from the same representative sample surveyed in 2014.
Crucially, areas outside schools were seen as the highest priority for reducing speed limits to 20mph, receiving support from an overwhelming 89% of respondents.
The main reasons put forward by supporters of a blanket reduction in the speed limit are to ‘make the roads safer’ (49%) and ‘reduce accidents / saving lives’ (24%).
Meanwhile, those against argue that 20mph is too slow and that individual roads or areas should be considered rather than a blanket ban.
Significantly, just over half of drivers, 54%, would like the road outside their home to have a 20mph limit, higher than the 44% when the survey was last conducted seven years ago, possibly indicating that lockdown may have made people more aware of their immediate environment.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart Director of Policy & Research, said: “Improving road safety is key but a blanket ban on reducing 30mph speed limits to 20mph speed limits isn’t necessarily the best route.
“Each situation needs to be decided on a case-by-case basis, with local considerations and consultation playing an important role.”
Further findings from the study found strong support for a ‘soft touch’ for drivers caught speeding up to 30mph in a 20mph zone, with 64% of respondents favouring a tailored driver education course rather than a fine for offenders.
Neil added: “The key requirement for any 20mph zone must be that it is self-enforcing and self-explaining through signposting and road markings that makes sense, or by installing high quality traffic calming features.”