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Rural road speed limits should be "linked to risk" says IAM

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Government plans for a blanket 50mph speed limit will not command respect unless drivers can see a clear link to crash risk, said the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) because there are places where it makes no sense to reduce the limit.

Deaths and serious injury on the UK's rural roads are the top road safety issue facing authorities and road users over the next ten years.

Research by the IAM and EuroRAP (European Road Assessment Programme) in 2007 showed that rural roads can be star-rated for safety and appropriate speed limits applied at the worst locations. Those roads with bends and twists, solid objects right next to the roads side, hidden junctions and poor overtaking opportunities should be the prime candidates for a wholesale review of speed limits.

"A detailed review which assesses every mile of rural road is needed - not a simple application of an arbitrary new speed limit that conveys no obvious message to the driver," said Neil Greig director IAM Policy and Research. "Even at 50mph many rural roads can be lethal."

There is no single simple answer to the problem of rural road deaths, added Greig. "A joint programme of road improvements, campaigns to raise risk awareness, more enforcement, encouragement to take extra training and including rural roads in the new driving test will ultimately deliver results."