Global Road Safety Week

This week marks the sixth United Nations Global Road Safety Week and policy makers across the world are being called on to limit speeds to 20 mile per hour on roads in areas where people walk, live and play.

The current default speed limit for residential areas is 30 mile per hour. If someone is hit by a car at 30 miles an hour there is a 50 per cent chance they will be killed. If they are hit by a car at 20 miles per hour that risk drops to 10 per cent.

I am pleased to say that here in Gwent this work is already underway.

I sit on the Welsh Government’s steering group that is looking to implement a default 20 miles per hour speed limit on all urban roads in Wales by 2023, and we are currently taking part in a pilot project to see how this will work in practice. I have every confidence that this small change will help save lives in our communities.

Speed limits and targeted enforcement by the police play an important part in keeping our roads safe but I believe that going forward we need to adopt a literal ‘from the ground up approach’ to road engineering. Designing roads in new residential areas so that they cause people to naturally slow down is a proven way to reduce speeding.

We mustn’t forget that the single biggest factor in reducing road deaths and serious injuries is driver responsibility. In the UK there are 11 deaths or serious injuries a day on our roads where speed alone was identified as contributory factor. All of these could have been easily avoided. So please take extra care, slow down and stay safe on the roads.