Will The 20mph Speed Limit Become The Default?

Will The 20mph Speed Limit Become The Default?


Earlier this year, Wales officially welcomed in a new policy that saw speed limits in built-up areas reduce from 30mph to 20mph.

Since then, it’s been a hot topic and there’s been a lot of talk around whether England, Scotland and Northern Ireland might follow the lead of Wales.

The move hasn’t been universally popular, though, with many viewing it as being overbearing and causing issues for motorists.

Now, a recent poll has found that 39% of motorists in England would support a move to 20mph speed limits in built-up areas.

How Does The 20mph Speed Limit Work?

The 20mph speed limit in Wales is enforced on what are known as ‘restricted roads’…

That essentially means any roads that have lampposts every 200 yards or less, and it includes most residential and built-up areas.

It means that the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 will be changing from stating that it’s not lawful for a person to ‘drive a motor vehicle on a restricted road at a speed exceeding 30mph’ to state 20mph instead.

Anyone caught exceeding the 20mph speed limit will face a £100 fine and three points on their licence.

The reason it’s in the news again is because new figures released by the government on road casualties found that road deaths and serious injuries caused by driver speed increased by 10% last year.

Which is why the question is being asked as to what steps the government, national highways and local authorities are taking to tackle the issue.

How Do Drivers And Fleets Feel About A 20mph Speed Limit?

The reception in Wales has been mixed.

The pros and cons to the decision are clear – at 20mph, it’s going to take you a fair bit longer to get to your destination than if you’re travelling at 30mph. And for fleets, that could add up to some serious extra time on regular routes.

But the flip side is around road safety and the safety of pedestrians and those who live in the residential areas where the speed limit would be affected.

It took a long time for the Welsh Government to finally give the move the green light after a lot of consultations and a thorough process involving road safety groups, motorists, politicians and experts.

The reality with the recent poll is that while 39% of drivers supported any potential move to 20mph speed limits in built-up areas, 61% did not. That’s not to say they voiced opposition, but they did not voice their support either.

Which means that there is still work to be done to convince the public that it’s a good idea.

What do you think of the change to the speed limit to 20mph in built-up areas in Wales? Would you support a similar change in the rest of the UK? Let us know in the comments below.