Memorandum by Leeds City Council (RTS
ROAD TRAFFIC SPEED
There is still a lot of confusion about the
difference between these. All those concerned about Casualty Reduction
must get over the message that inappropriate speed can be well
below the posted speed limit. However it can only be detected
by observation or examination after the event. Illegal speed can
be measured and prosecuted accordingly. It should also be made
clear that the posted speed limit represents the maximum speed
allowed and not the recommended speed.
Causing crashes and the severity of accidents
It has been proved conclusively that the higher
the speed the higher the severity of the injury. In addition recent
research shows that reducing vehicle speeds will also reduce the
frequency of accidents. Therefore reducing the incidence of illegal
and inappropriate speed will lead to a reduction in the number
and severity of injuries. One of the major problems associated
with this is that travelling at illegal speeds is not seen as
a crime. Still problems with including speeding within Crime &
Reducing the quality of life in urban areas
Excessive speed (whether illegal or inappropriate)
increases social exclusion. It makes it much more difficult for
people to cross the road and generally participate in community
activities. Evidence suggests that the maximum speed in these
areas must be about 20 mph to re-encourage social use of such
The consequences of illegal and inappropriate
speed for urban design
The major question is are we still designing
so as to cope with the traffic or are we now giving priority to
social use? Paradoxically if we design for low speeds then the
consequences of drivers travelling at inappropriate speeds may
be worse. Progress has been made in altering designs for "pure"
residential areas, but there are still severe problems for other
One of the success stories within Road Safety
is reducing the incidence of Drink Driving. This was achieved
by a mixture of increased enforcement and publicity. It may well
be worth carrying out some further research into seeing how this
successful campaign could be carried over into other areas of
Road Safety and in particular speed reduction.
The consequences of, and reasons for illegal and
There is already sufficient information on this
and we do not want any request for further research to delay action.
However, more research is still needed as to the effects of different
remedial treatments. The results of research linking speeding
with other criminal behaviour should be publicised more.
Reasons for very high pedestrian casualty rate
There is very clear evidence of linkage between
high vehicle speeds and high pedestrian casualty rates. What is
still lacking is any real knowledge as to why England's pedestrian
casualty rates are calculated to be higher than many other countries
(and Scotland's are even higher). If it is lifestyle, what really
makes the difference? What we do need in Great Britain is a very
clear way of identifying to all road users what any particular
road is to be used for. In particular drivers in urban areas should
be made well aware that wherever they are they are likely to come
across pedestrians and/or domestic animals.
This is essential, the problem of illegal speed
has got so bad that the only short-term answers is increased enforcement.
Once the vast majority of motorists are obeying the speed limits,
then the police enforcement can be relaxed and education and publicity
will probably be sufficient. Recent experience shows that increased
publicity is necessary to convince everyone that increased enforcement
is required and is of benefit to everyone. Should work towards
enforcing the speed limits, not allowing a variety of tolerances
across the country. The increased use of speed cameras has a vital
part to play in this area and there should be no unnecessary impediments
to installing these cameras wherever there is evidence of speed
related accidents. The netting off procedure is to be commended.
Road re-design, traffic calming and road re-classification
These three topics are really the same. There
is a limit as to what can be achieved. The resources, both financial
and staff are not available to change much in the short term.
Evidence is that traffic calming is not cost effective in purely
casualty reduction terms. In addition the system of road classification
will only give casualty reduction benefits if it can include all
roads. It is often roads which are difficult to obtain a consensus
as to the classification that have the highest accident rate.
It should be made clear through local and national publicity that
nearly all roads will have to cater for "shared" use
and that therefore it is everyone's responsibility to look out
for more vulnerable road users.
Physical measures to separate pedestrians and
The use of pedestrian barriers is controversial.
It should only be used where it is not possible to allow pedestrians
to use their desired route.
The separation of pedestrians and vehicles obviously
"works" in terms of casualty reduction, but is often
unacceptable for many other reasons. Using specific designs of
the carriageway will work on motorways, housing estates and pedestrianised
shopping areas, but it is very difficult to see how such designs
can be effective anywhere else.
More use of Intelligent Speed Adaptation
A crude form of speed control is already common
for HGV's and PSV's. Constant monitoring should be continued.
The next stage will be to refine this system for commercial vehicles.
The extension of this technique to all vehicles will be a long-term
goal, but the casualty reduction benefits will be enormous.
Better car design for pedestrian protection
Yes, but this should never be considered the
main way of dealing with speed or pedestrian injury.
More education to improve driver behaviour
Yes. This is obviously politically acceptable.
However it is an area where further research may provide further
useful information as to what works. It is important that drivers
continue to receive information. Maybe we have to find a way of
making this regular and compulsory.
More education to improve motorcyclists behaviour
Again this is good, wonder if it would be possible
to make this compulsory and link it with buying a new motorcycle.
Accident statitistics show high incidence of new (and higher powered)
machines, whilst more detailed research confirms the problems
associated with a change of machine.
More education to improve driver and motorcyclist
These two elements are linked. This is becoming
more common with new drivers and the theory test. One question
is whether these tests should be carried out on a more regular
basis. Evidence shows that any campaign has to be targeted at
specific problems. Regular monitoring should always be carried
out to ensure that the education is effective.
Changes to speed limits
In itself, changing the speed limit does very
little (see also section on enforcement). However there is no
doubt that the regime of speed limits should be looked at carefully.
Several issues stand out within this plan.
The "simple" system of using 20, 30,
40, 50, 60, 70, (80?) is probably still the best.
The speed limit on any length must be clearly
and regularly signed. (30 mph repeater signs should be allowed)
The speed limit should relate very closely to
the road hierarchy.
Not in favour of automatically changing eg after
dark or in rain. (Back to distinguishing between illegal and inappropriate
The perceived time gap between policy and implementation
needs to be short. The stages between the two need to be properly
defined and understandable by all.
Is there a co-ordinated approach to speed management?
No. There are still too many different attitudes
to road safety. Different police forces and Local Authorities
have differing ranges of priority given to speed management. The
installation of safety cameras is a good example; this should
be standard across the country and not left to Chief Constables
By and large Local Authorities implement measures.
They are the "coal-face" of most of what is happening.
They also take most of the blame when things go wrong. However
there are limitations as to what Local Authorities can achieve
on their own. Again, safety cameras and speed limit enforcement
generally is a case in point.
Guiding policy and legislation. Also responsible
for allocating funding for Local Authorities to implement policy,
etc. Initiate research. Supervise setting of targets and monitoring.
Role should be reducing. Probably now should
only concentrate on motorways. Funding, etc should not be greater
than Local Authorities receive for their roads. Highways Agency
always seem much more interested in capacity and flow, rather
Role of police in relation to speed should be
one of consistent enforcement. Too much variation between police
forces. Speed management should be incorporated within a core
function so it cannot be ignored. It would be beneficial to have
a common approach to safety cameras and traffic policing. Even
though the latest HMI report commended increased traffic policing
this does not seem to have been taken up throughout the country.
Funding for police and also sets priorities
and functions/targets for them. Can also promote discussions on
penalties and liaison with courts.
Probably not. Again, there are glaring inconsistencies.
However, it is probably the fact that in most cases where "appropriate"
sentences are given, these will not be noticed (see press role);
however, information to magistrates needs to be increased and
their options fully explained. It is probably the case that the
penalties available are severe enough, it is just that the maximum
penalties are very rarely given.
Leeds City Council believes that most appropriate
measures are available, the problem is that they are not always
being used to best effect. Removal of licences, sending for re-tests
and driver training/workshops should all be used much more.
Main question is whether the groups below follow
or lead public opinion.
Generaly the press are becoming more responsible
on road safety. It will continue to be monitored as to its attitude
on safety cameras. The vast majority of people are in favour of
TV programmes (general)
Pretty good, becoming more balanced.
TV programmes (motoring)
Same as above.
They obviously have a job to sell goods. Are
we really as gullible as they seem to think?
They should change as public opinion changes.
The existing regulation is probably sufficient.
This is vital although very difficult. Must
be based on consistent speed limits that are rigorously enforced.
The rationale behind the setting of speed limiters must be explained
and should not be fixed on a whim. It is in this area that there
are probably the widest range of opinions between politicians,
road safety professionals and the general public.
OTHER TOPICS NOT SPECIFICALLY COVERED
Role of vehicle design
Vehicles must be designed so that they run smoothly
and efficiently at the speed limit. They should not be such so
as to encourage travelling at more than 30mph.
"Did not know what the speed limit was"
Improve signing and provide it at regular intervals
(even within 30mph areas).
"I did not know how fast I was going"
Look at ways to provide better information to
drivers. Eye level or audio information.
"Did not know the speed restrictions on this
This is more relevant to "professional"
drivers, but we need to ensure that correct information is always
This is becoming more relevant under the Health
and Safety at Work regulations. It should never be the case that
drivers have to break speed limits to keep to their work schedules.
Companies should be prosecuted wherever this is found to be the
Increased driver training for "at work"
drivers should receive much more encouragement.
General driver improvement schemes and workshops
should be encouraged and also have specific sections on speed