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Monday, 14 February, 2000, 15:48 GMT
Less speed 'could halve' road deaths
children crossing road
Traffic calming is a tool to cut the casualty figures
A drop in urban speed limits to 20mph could save 2,500 children a year from being killed or seriously hurt, according to research carried out for the BBC.

A study for Panorama also reveals that the lower limit would add only a small increase to the average journey time.

Last year over 5,000 children were killed or seriously injured on Britain's roads.

This puts the UK second from bottom in European figures for child pedestrian safety.

Overall, the UK has one of the best road safety records in Europe, coming second only to Sweden.

But the government has set a target of halving the number of children run over each year by 2010.

Traffic calming

The Department of Transport's Road Safety Review, due out at the end of February, will to recommend ways for local authorities to achieve this goal.

children
Councils are being urged to improve child safety
The recommendations could include traffic calming measures such as speed ramps and chicanes.

Councils also have the power to impose lower speed restrictions than the national limit.

However, some local authorities are concerned that they will not have enough money to carry out the government's target measures.

Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council says the city has a backlog of 500 requests for traffic calming measures such as speed humps and chicanes.

"Whenever we put in a scheme in one part of the city, the adjacent are wants to know 'why can't we have them too?'" he told the BBC.

Lucy Maxfield
Lucy Maxfield was killed crossing the road
A Panorama documentary due to be shown on BBC 1 on Monday night, investigates the UK's record on child safety on the roads.

The programme features Lucy Maxfield, a nine-year-old from Stockport who was killed by a driver doing less than 30mph.

Lucy's father Mike Maxfield, is calling for a change in the speed limit in built up areas.

"There are plenty of countries have a speed limit lower than 20mph and nothing grinds to a halt - fewer people get killed, it's as simple as that." he said.

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See also:

14 Feb 00 |  Panorama
Speed. Panorama 14 February 2000
26 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Fury at speeding climbdown
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