Questions Raised Over Effectiveness Of Lower Speed Limit

As 20 mph limit imposed across the borough of Wandsworth

On June 29th Wandsworth Council announced that the speed limit on quieter residential roads across the borough is 20mph in an attempt to make the roads safer and also encourage cycling and walking.

59 per cent of residents supported the introduction of the lower limit on the quieter streets (64 per cent agreed the limit should not be reduced on main roads).

Accidents involving collisions between pedestrians and vehicles are three times less likely to be fatal if the speed of the impact is 20mph compared to 30mph.

Studies by the Department for Transport (DfT) have shown that at 30mph, 55 per cent of collisions result in pedestrian fatalities while at 20mph this figure drops dramatically to just 17 per cent.

However, it is alleged that the majority of drivers in the UK are ignoring 20mph zones, bringing claims that the mass introduction of lower limits in built-up areas is a waste of time.

The DfT analysis shows that eight out of ten cars exceeded the maximum last year. The study, based on the use of traffic counters on the road surface, showed that drivers were more likely to break the speed limit on 20mph streets than any other road. A total of 81 per cent of vehicles broke the limit on low-speed roads with 15 per cent travelling at 30mph or more and 1 per cent at over 40mph.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) state on their website that 20mph zones are very effective at preventing injuries, and that RoSPA would like to see their wider use in residential areas.

Enforcement of the new speed limit in the borough will be carried out by the police, with the Council working in support of their efforts. Any revenue generated by speed fines goes directly to HM Treasury not the town hall.

Wandsworth Council has also pioneered the introduction of Community Road Watch initiatives in which community leaders, crime prevention panel members and neighbourhood watch coordinators also take part in enforcement exercises.

Involving local communities in helping to enforce lower limits and educate drivers about the dangers of excessive speeds is now being rolled out by the Met across London.

For more information about the new rules and additional background on the decision, visit

July 4, 2017