Brake urges 20mph limit near schools to cut child road casualties

Safety charity Brake has called for a 20mph speed limit to be imposed on all roads near schools in the UK to reduce child fatalities. Last year, 2,456 children under 16 were seriously injured or killed on the country’s roads. Many councils have already implemented 20mph zones near schools, but Brake claims that two-thirds of parents report higher limits on some roads close to their children’s schools. One example is Dropmore Infant School in Buckinghamshire, where nearby roads have limits of up to 60mph.

Headteacher Gitta Streete has been advocating for 20mph limits for several years. She said, “One parent had their car door taken off by a passing car. That could easily have been a child, parent or carer being hit. What we need is a proper, phased speed reduction system: a reduction to 20mph outside the school and safe areas for everyone to walk along and cross the road.”

Buckinghamshire Council’s member for transport, Steven Broadbent, said the council takes road safety “incredibly seriously” and is aware of the school’s concerns. He added, “We want to continue working as closely as possible with them and all schools to ensure all students have safe passage to and from school.”

Brake’s Lucy Straker said that reducing speed saves lives, as a crash at 30mph has twice the amount of kinetic energy as one at 20mph. She questioned, “Why do we have to wait until a child is killed before we act?”

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However, a report from last year suggested that cutting speed limits to 20mph in built-up areas did not significantly improve safety.

This comes as over 700 schools and nurseries participate in Brake’s Kids Walk today to raise awareness of the issue. Wales is set to introduce a default 20mph limit on residential roads and busy pedestrian streets on September 17, making it one of the first countries in the world to implement such laws.

The Local Government Association, which represents councils, stated that it is up to each council to make speed decisions based on their local needs. A Department for Transport spokeswoman also said that it is the decision of local authorities in England to choose their own limits and there are no plans to introduce any default or national 20mph zones.

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Jamie Cartwright

Jamie is a keen traveler, writer, and (English) teacher. A few years after finishing school in the East Mids, UK, he went traveling around South America and Asia. Several teaching and writing jobs, he found himself at The Thaiger where he mostly covers international news and events.

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