Road Safety News

20mph campaign wins local government award

Tuesday 28th May 2013

Lancashire County Council has scooped a national award for a communications campaign designed to drive home the message that obeying 20mph limits in the county’s residential areas could save lives.

'Slower for a reason' was named Campaign of the Year at the LGcomms Reputation Awards, which are designed to recognise how effective communication with residents can help councils to deliver better services.

Posters on billboards and bus shelters featured 'hard-hitting' images to highlight research showing that a person hit at 30mph is seven times more likely to die than a person hit at 20mph. Produced with advice from paramedics, a picture of a child's face illustrates the difference in injuries likely to be sustained.

The campaign supports a three-year programme in Lancashire to roll-out 20mph speed limits on residential streets and outside schools, which is due to be completed this summer.

Lancashire County Council has introduced the 20mph programme to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on residential roads, which is historically higher in Lancashire than other areas of the country.

The council says that in the three pilot areas where 20mph limits were first introduced, 25 people were injured in 18 months compared with 137 in the preceding three years.

Contact Mike Warren on 01772 533537 for more information.


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Reducing speed limit decreases the severity of injury if contact with a pedestrian were to occur. However the reduction in speed is not directly proportional to the number of contacts [accidents] - it can't be.

If, in a small village for example, the speed is restricted to 20mph then this will impact: the time taken for the traffic to flow through the village, the subsequent increase in congestion, the reduced concentratation of drivers and likelihood of multitasking (mobile phone usage, etc), the perceived reduction of risk by pedestrians and drivers - i.e not taking ownership of risk and relying on drivers to inherit the risk and to assume competency, the increased frustration of pedestrians and local vehicle owners and liklihood of taking additional risk to contest with slow moving traffic. There will also be an apparent traffic volume increase. There are probably more factors to consider. It therefore could be argued that at lower speeds the accidents may increase. Even though the severity 'may' be less (although not neccesarily) the increased frequency may not.

When analysing all factors there will be an optimum speed for a given location. It will be a balance of risk to all, to the drivers and pedestrians. Each would need to be made aware and willing to accept. In many situations the 20mph speed limit is non-sensical. I would be interested to see the safety analysis.
Brian Williams Preston

Agree (0) | Disagree (1)

Rod and Eric:
You have both made your points in this thread - let's leave it to others to contribute from here onwards. Thanks.
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety GB newsfeed

Agree (6) | Disagree (0)


No, It is you who are making the claim but do not compare like for like, do not show how numbers should be adjusted for traffic volumes, do not establish causality between traffic volumes and casualties and do not compare national urban stats with local urban stats. Please desist from making claims which any other body with the name "research" in its title would be embarrassed to make. You may be "Independent". You may be interested in the "Road", but your "Research" is far from "Safe".
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us, Cheshire

Agree (15) | Disagree (3)

In order to disprove my claim, you need only to find an example of a 20mph scheme where serious injury trends post-implementation, when adjusted for traffic volume, are better than national trend.

If you have an issue with any of the numbers and trends I have referred to here or in my 20mph Conference hand-out, please be clear about what it is. Those numbers come from published results from the authorities.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

Agree (3) | Disagree (14)

Once again the claim is being made that "When adjusted for traffic volume and against national trends, every 20mph leads to increased serious injuries".

This claim is by an organisation that calls itself a "research" body. Yet the sources, methodology and confidence levels of its claims have never been published.

Neither have they been reviewed by any academic institution or the results ratified by any statistician.
Rod King - 20's Plenty for Us Cheshire

Agree (18) | Disagree (4)

This is a good example of politics in action. £millions of our money is spent implementing policies, in this case 20mph speed limits. Further taxpayers money then funds publicity to persuade people the policy is successful and often surveys are then commissioned to prove that the public have believed it.

But 20mph speed limits only attempt to deal with the particular accident scenario where drivers are going above 20mph close to children and cannot stop in time.

Fewer than 2.5% of child injuries involve excess speed (above or below the speed limit) therefore over 97.5% of child injuries will still occur in 20mph areas, see 1.7:

But that's before accounting for the increase in injuries caused by the negative side effects of 20mph limits. Maybe that's why serious injury rates have increased where 20mph speed limits have been implemented?
Dave, Slough

Agree (4) | Disagree (19)

Despite my being critical about the choice of slogan, I have no problem with '20' zones themselves, but I do have a problem with such damaging assertions as "... this campaign would injure more pedestrians.." Perhaps there should be an alternative awards category for statements like this.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (10) | Disagree (2)

Speed kills - FACT. Whatever the speed limit is, drivers will exceed it - FACT. Until you are affected by an incident involving speed, causing serious injury or even death, you do not realise the real danger of speed. Consequences are never at the forefront of anyone's mind who speeds. Any campaign to help reduce the devastating result of drivers involved in incidents where speed is an overriding factor is worthy of recognition.
J Jones

Agree (14) | Disagree (4)

Let's look at this award...

LG Comms website defines it as: "For the most effective communications campaign improving the reputation of the authority. The winning nomination will demonstrate an understanding of SMART targets integrated with strategic insight good delivery and evidence that the campaign has improved the lives of local people".

I guess LG were not told how this campaign would injure more pedestrians, but I'm pleased to see the Council's reputation is what really matters. Be careful of what you wish for.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

Agree (5) | Disagree (17)

I despair. Are we accepting pedestrian injuries as inevitable now?

LCC seem to be saying: "Great if you can avoid killing child pedestrians - pity about the life changing injuries though."

And this gets an award?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (8) | Disagree (8)

More propaganda to justify wasteful and damaging (to road safety) public spending. It is self evident that changing the speed limit from 30mph to 20mph has not been solely responsible for the changes in injuries quoted (curiously over different time periods and without differentiating between serious and minor). I say "self evident" because speeds actually fall by very small amounts and some roads see speed increases. When adjusted for traffic volume and against national trends, every 20mph leads to increased serious injuries. I do not wish to hit any pedestrian at any speed but, as they take less care in 20mph zones, these schemes that prospect tragically more likely.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

Agree (4) | Disagree (25)