Twenty is plenty

Driving at twenty miles per hour can feel like a pain, but when you are in the middle of a housing estate with parents taking their children to school, a slower speed makes sense. Cars and children don’t mix. 

Yet for some people it seems an impossible ask. Despite warning signs on the estate where my eldest daughter lives, the number of drivers who break the speed limit is worrying. It was the fact that someone chose to overtake me while I was sticking to the limit that has made me think about this issue

Don’t get me wrong, I am no saint. I have sped many times in my life and have been caught a number of times. As I have got older, however, either because of my age or that I am not in so much of a hurry, I try to stick to the limit. I am particularly mindful in built up areas and on housing estates.

My question is why do we not address this through technology? The increasing use of GPS has allowed very accurate information on speed limits to be mapped. My SatNav seems accurate to a few meters. Many cars are also connected to the Internet and have electronic management systems which monitor everything about the vehicle.

How simple would it be then to limit the speed that vehicles can go? Fairly easy I think yet there would have to be exceptions such as for blue light vehicles when attending an incident.

Why don’t we then? I imagine because it would be unpopular. It would feel like, once again, government interference in our lives yet there is no real excuse for speeding. The police will tell you that speed is a key factor in injuries caused by vehicles. A person hit by a car doing 40 mph is unlikely to survive. The speed limits are there for a reason.

Limiting speed may not stop accidents or prevent bad driving but it would reduce the number of injuries, especially fatal ones. 

Is it right that personal freedom overrides social responsibility? At times no and I think, especially in areas of 20 mph restrictions, there is a strong case for a technological solution.

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