Letter: Tackling speed

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Surveys show that nine out of 10 people support a 20mph limit around all schools. A similar proportion believe the 60mph speed limit on country lanes is too high. Your leader writer may think ministers are speeding in the wrong direction, but most of the public disagrees.

But this isn't just an argument about public acceptability - it's about saving lives. In Graz, Austria, a cut in the speed limit to 30kph (approximately 20mph) led to a 24-per-cent decline in deaths and serious injuries. Cutting speeds is the single most effective way to make our roads safer.

Your suggestion that the motorway speed limit be abolished is also misguided. Above 50mph, engine efficiency gets worse and more carbon dioxide and other pollutants are emitted for every mile travelled. We need to improve enforcement of the existing limit, or even reduce it on some motorways, as already happens on the M25 at peak periods.

Incidentally, as motorways become increasingly congested, lower speed limits have the effect of improving traffic flow so that drivers actually arrive at their destinations more quickly.


Assistant Director, Transport 2000

London N1