Speed limit to be cut to 20mph in rural areas

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The Independent Online

The Government gave its strongest signal so far yesterday that new speed limits will be introduced in rural areas to try to improve road safety.

The Government gave its strongest signal so far yesterday that new speed limits will be introduced in rural areas to try to improve road safety.

Ministers hinted that the forthcoming Road Safety Strategy would include speed reductions intended to cut the number of people who die on Britain's roads. Safety campaigners who insist that present levels of deaths are unacceptable have exerted huge pressure to curb the present limit of 30mph in villages.

Beverley Hughes, a Transport minister, said in the Commons that the review would have "specific proposals for speed in rural areas".

Government sources later said introduction of reduced speed limits was one of the preferred options. Local authorities already have the power to impose 20mph speed limits in front of village schools or playgrounds for safety reasons.

Other measures being considered include traffic cones and building street humps. The number of road deaths in 1998 was 3,421, the lowest since records began in 1926.

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