Road Safety News

20mph limits being rolled out at Durham schools

Wednesday 2nd December 2015

Durham County Council has launched its ‘Slow to 20 for Safer Streets’ campaign which is seeing 20mph speed limits rolled out on roads near a number of schools in the region.

The campaign, launched at St Cuthbert's Primary School in Chester-le-Street, aims to encourage safer driving and promises to deliver a range of benefits to pupils and the wider community.

The council says studies show that for every 1mph reduction in average speed the number of collisions and casualties fall by 6%.

It also points to evidence which suggests that where 20mph speed limits have been introduced there have been fewer casualties and more people have been encouraged to walk and cycle to school.

The ‘Slow to 20 for Safer Streets’ campaign comes after the council’s cabinet agreed to introduce part-time 20mph limits on main and distributor roads near 33 schools in the county where accident rates have been identified as being double the average.

The speed limits will be in effect at peak travelling times from Monday to Friday and drivers will be alerted by flashing warning signs.

St Cuthbert's Primary School is the first location where the new 20mph limit came into force. A further 12 will be introduced this year and the remaining 20 in 2016.

Clare Swales, head teacher at St Cuthbert's Primary School, said: “Our school council has worked extremely hard over the last year to raise awareness among the community of the dangers of driving too fast on the roads around school.

“We are delighted that, in partnership with the council, St Cuthbert's has become the first location for the 20mph speed limit to come into force. Children and families are looking forward to the scheme greatly improving safety on the surrounding roads and benefitting everyone on the journey to and from school.”

As part of the campaign road safety training will continue in schools, which includes child pedestrian training, Bikeability cycle training and road safety education. Pupils will also be helping to raise awareness in their communities by distributing leaflets to local residents.

Councillor Lucy Hovvels, cabinet member for adult and health services, added: “Slower driving speeds in residential areas will hopefully lead to a safer, healthier road environment. It can help improve road safety and help encourage people to be more active.

“Through time, as speeds in residential areas decrease there should be more and more positive outcomes for the local community.”


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This will be a great initiative for all those children that are driven into the school zone or live in the immediate vicinity of the school. It will give them the benefit of lower speeds on the complete journey from protected vehicle to school. This will therefore unduly protect those using the very form of transport that society recognises is not so good for their health and at the same time leave most of those walking or cycling unprotected for most of their journey.

And, with only 20% of child casualties occurring when travelling to or from school (AA Research), then this will not effect the other 80% at all.

Such policies actually endorse going faster than 20 on the rest of the community roads for the rest of the time. Whenever we say "slow down here and now" we are subliminally telling people that its OK to speed up elsewhere and at other times.

I am sorry but this is a poor policy which would be most beneficial for main roads exceptions within an authority wide 20 limit for residential roads. It should be recognised as being too little, too isolated and too short.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (6) | Disagree (14)

We have a common sense policy in Staffordshire - school safety zone 20mph limits using illuminated 20 signs only apply on roads outside schools at arrival and departure times, combined with the lollipop man/lady. Schools tend to be on main arterial roads, so 24/7 blanket 20mph limits don't make any sense. In practice, of course, traffic is so congested during school/arrival departure times that the speed limit is irrelevant. Incidentally,for 12 years I lived on an what was a newly built housing estate with a 10mph limit.
Paul Biggs, Tamworth

Agree (16) | Disagree (8)

I know this subject has been done to death on this forum, but it's still worth emphasising that it should be all or nothing in my view. The tendency for Council's to implement 20 limits piece-meal in 'some' streets, near 'some' schools, at 'some times', is not robust nor comprehensive enough to achieve much.

Default 20s for residential roads should be the norm, with councils making local orders, where applicable, for 30s on certain roads - not the other way around.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (9) | Disagree (8)