Accident black spots
Over the past three years, 3,700 under-18’s have been injured in road traffic collisions in 20mph zones – that’s an average of 23 injuries every week, with one in every six accidents resulting in serious injury or fatality. The high proportion of young people involved in accidents in reduced-speed zones can be explained by their location – often near schools or close to areas where children play. Yet it’s not the location of the speed restrictions that causes all the accidents, it’s usually the fault of drivers who selfishly ignore the 20mph limit.
Attitudes putting children at risk
New research carried out in November 2019 has revealed motorists’ attitudes to 20mph zones, and more importantly, their reaction to 20mph signage. In the survey of more than 2,000 drivers, 37% admitted they don’t slow in a 20mph zone, which equates to almost 15 million drivers across the UK. Many drivers freely admitted they don’t reduce their speed when driving through areas with high numbers of vulnerable pedestrians, including roads near hospitals and schools. And nearly a third of motorists admitted they found 20mph zones frustrating, while 7% stated they thought they were pointless.
The stopping distance of a car is made up of ‘thinking distance’ and ‘braking distance’. ‘Thinking distance’ is the length of road travelled while the driver is processing what’s happening in front of them and reacting to the emergency. Braking distance is the amount of road travelled after the driver has hit the brakes and the car is slowing down. At 20mph, total stopping distance is around 12 metres. At 40mph, thinking distance is 12 metres. So if a child trips and falls into the road 12 metres in front of a moving car, an alert driver travelling at 20mph should be able to stop safely. But the same driver travelling at 40mph won’t have even begun to slow down by the time the car and child collide.