Mon 20 Nov 2023

Road Safety Week 2023: Let's Talk About Speed

As it is Road Safety Week, Rachael Walker, Solicitor in the personal injury discusses innovative ways in which speeding could be prevented on UK roads. 

It is not guaranteed that drivers will obey the speed limits in place on our roads. According to the road safety charity, Brake speeding is a contributory factor in one in three fatal road traffic accidents. To address this, there are new and innovative ways which the Government and public bodies can use to help to prevent speeding taking place which would make our roads safer for all users.

One innovative measure is traffic lights turning red for speeding vehicles. This system was first implemented in Spain to combat the risk of accidents occurring between pedestrians and road users driving at higher speeds. It is mainly used in areas such as small towns or near schools.

Other countries such as France and the Netherlands have followed suit and have set up similar systems. France have positioned their approach as a 'reward system' meaning that the traffic light will turn green when a motorist has been driving at or below the speed limit as opposed to turning red when a motorist is going above the speed limit. French councils are not only finding that this is an effective measure to prevent speeding, but it is also proving to be a cheaper alternative to other measures such as the construction of speed bumps.

The logic behind this method is that drivers are more likely to stick to the speed limit because their journey will be prolonged by being stopped at a red light if they don't. Transport Scotland are trialling this in the small village of Springholm on the A75 near Dumfries, by linking two sets of traffic lights at each end of the village to speed monitoring devices. Therefore, the light will turn to red if the speed monitoring device detects that the speed limit is not being followed.

Another innovative and fun speed calming measure that was founded in Japan is the melody road. Melody roads have grooves dug into them at various depths and distances from each other. When a vehicle drives over these grooves, the vibrations create a tune. However, to enjoy the melody created by the vibrations the driver cannot exceed the speed limit, otherwise the melody cannot be heard properly. 

Arguably, the most important measure to prevent speeding on our roads is through raising awareness. Brake's Road Safety Week theme, Let's Talk About Speed, not only raises awareness of the dangers of speeding but it also helps to promote responsible attitudes toward obeying speed limits and understanding the reasons for doing so. Arguably, breaking the speed limit is a law which is deemed socially acceptable to break.  Given the risks of doing so - and the fact that 5 people die on UK roads every day - we should be challenging each other on this and making a conscious decision not to speed, no matter how much of a rush we're in or how inconvenient it is.  These discussions, increased awareness and changing attitudes will inevitably help to prevent speeding and make our roads safer for all users.

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