The Government’s plans to have residential areas become 20mph zones have been called in question.
The minister for road safety, Jim Fitzpatrick confirmed recently that it was the Government’s intention that all urban residential areas would have the new speed limit.
He said his department was actively encouraging councils to introduce the new zones.
However many councils have complained of lack of funding.
Only Portsmouth has introduced city-wide 20mph zones and here residents are already questioning a lack of enforcement.
Now the RAC Foundation has said more research is needed before 20mph zones are comprehensively rolled out across the country.
Elizabeth Dainton, research development manager from the Foundation said that there was a danger that policy development could speed ahead of understanding, local considerations and public acceptance.
The Foundation's research found that 95% of all pedestrian casualties and 92% of cyclist casualties are killed or injured on built-up roads with speed limits under 40mph.
Speed is not the only factor that leads to these accidents as driver behaviour, which includes speed, is a factor in 26% of all accidents, whereas failing to look is the biggest cause of collisions (68%).
The RAC is therefore arguing that driver training and education are as important as reducing speed when it comes to improving UK casualty figures.
Although casualty reductions for current 20mph zones are impressive, Ms Dainton said there are limits to their overall use.
”Reducing road casualties in the UK must remain a priority, and speed limits as well as 20mph zones have an important role to play,” she said.
“It does not follow that 20mph zones should be implemented in residential areas without adequate consideration being given to local circumstances and public opinion.
"One-size fits all policies are rarely successful. 20mph zones are no different.”