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Calls for speed reduction on rural roads

View profile for Kate Sweeney
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Although National Road Safety week isn't until November this year, road safety charity Brake are stepping up the campaign to lower road speed limits everywhere with particular emphasis on rural roads, with their aim being for the Government to reduce the speed limit from the current 60 mph to default limit of 50 mph, with further reductions in speed limits following assessments and audits of individual roads.

Following a survey of around 1,000 drivers carried out by Brake and insurance company Direct Line recently, around 44% of male drivers admitted to breaking the 60 mph speed limit on rural roads and almost a quarter of males to overtaking "blind" whilst at the wheel. The percentage figures for female drivers were slightly lower, they still make worrying reading. 20% of male and 9% of female drivers admitted to being involved in an overtaking "near miss" or an incident whilst driving in the last year.

Ellen Booth, senior campaign officer for Brake stated "Some people kids themselves that they can get away with excessive speeds and dangerous manoeuvres because they know the road. Yet driving on rural roads is highly unpredictable, and the consequences of risk taking often horrendous". Statistics show that more than 3 people die on rural roads in the UK every day. 

RAC technical director David Bizley recently said that "The fact that the number of accidents and fatalities is higher on country roads highlights the need for motorists to apply the highest levels of responsibility when driving both in urban and rural areas".

The minimum safe stopping distance at 60 mph is a massive 73 metres, which Brake believe affords drivers very little time to act to prevent accidents, particularly as rural roads are plentiful with brows, hills, and sharp bends.  Brake are urging the Government to reduce the speeds limits which they say will afford more protection for rural road users including horseriders, cyclists and walkers.

As a firm, Stephensons takes part in Brake's Road Safety Week each year to help raise awareness of road accidents. Our personal injury team includes a specialist road traffic accident team which acts for people who have been injured in an accident on the road. 
By Personal Injury Executive, Pauline Smith