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Reduced speeds on 20mph roads in Wales is a ‘turning point’


February 21, 2024 - 349 views

New preliminary 20mph data published today shows that speeds have reduced by an average of 4mph on main roads since the national rollout of the default 20mph speed limit.

The data, which was collected by Transport for Wales, monitored millions of vehicles’ speeds in nine different communities across Wales before and after implementation.

Data gathered shows the average speeds on main roads dropped an average of 4mph - from 28.9mph to 24.8mph – providing clear evidence that speeds are moving in the right direction.

Research shows a strong link between lowering speeds and decreasing the number of collisions and people injured. On urban roads with low average speeds, there is average 6% reduction in collisions per 1mph reduction in average speed.

This downward trend in speeds is also supported by the phase one data in the final monitoring report from the first phase implementation areas which has also been published today.

Deputy Minister for Climate Change, with responsibility for transport, Lee Waters said:

“The latest data published today is clear evidence that average speeds are coming down on roads across Wales.

“We also know from data published by Go Safe earlier this month that 97% of drivers are complying with the new slower speed limit - behaviours and attitudes towards 20mph are beginning to change.

“We’ve still got a way to go, but it’s encouraging to see that things are moving in the right direction. Every 1mph reduction in speed makes a real difference – so this is a real turning point.

“The international evidence is clear, lower speeds saves lives – that’s fewer collisions, fewer deaths and fewer severe injuries, reducing the devastation to individuals and their families and the significant impact on the NHS and other emergency services.

Commenting on the latest statistics, the Chief Executive of the road safety charity, Brake, Ross Moorlock added:

“It’s encouraging to see how the new 20mph speed limit has reduced the overall speeds of these roads.

“Every day, five people die on UK roads and speed is a factor in every crash. The faster we drive, the greater our risk of crashing, and the harder we hit if we do crash.

“We know that road crashes have a devastating impact on families and communities. Sadly, we see this first-hand every day through the work of our National Road Victim Service, which last year supported more than 1,500 families who have been bereaved by a road crash or suffered catastrophic, life-changing injuries.

“We hope that governments and local authorities across the UK will take Wales’ lead and adopt 20mph as the default speed on roads where people and vehicles mix.

Alongside publication of the national data, today the initial report by the independent Review Team, which is looking into the setting of exceptions to the default 20mph limit, has been published. The report sets out a series of early findings and initial recommendations.

Speaking about the work of the independent review team, WLGA leader, Cllr Andrew Morgan said:

“Council leaders welcome the review of the implementation and the current guidance to help them make the right choices for their communities. Councils want to engage with the review to ensure we have the right speeds on the right streets.

“Whilst there appears to be some roads where the speed limit isn’t right and there is a need for local authority review, we have heard  from some councils that positive differences have been seen in the speed and safety of their streets, particularly amongst vulnerable people“.