No sympathy for speeders

Winstanley 20mph Zone
Winstanley 20mph Zone

DRIVERS who have been caught out by speed cameras are blaming councils for confusing them by changing speed limits.

Research by car insurance company Liverpool Victoria (LV) found 15 per cent of those given tickets for travelling too fast were caught out by recent changes to local speed limits, with a further 19 per cent saying road signs explaining the restrictions were unclear and many complaining speed cameras were placed near the site of recent speed alterations.

The researchers found 88 per cent of councils with responsibility for speed restrictions altered limits last year, with the majority of changes seeing residential roads changed from 30mph to 20mph.

However, Wigan drivers claiming they did not know the speed limit can expect little sympathy at the town hall, as council officers responded to the research by saying there are adequate signposts across the borough and motorists have no excuse for not knowing the correct speed.

Mark Tilley, Wigan Council assistant director for infrastructure, said: “We haven’t recently changed the speed limit close to any fixed speed camera sites.

“Any speed limit changes we make are clearly signed to the appropriate legislation and standards.

“It’s the responsibility of the driver to adhere to them.”

The research showed one in seven drivers have been caught speeding on British roads since 2009, with 22 per cent of these falling foul of traffic laws more than once. Wigan Council also responded to claims made by the 
Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), which has called for more research to be done on the effectiveness of recently-introduced 20mph limits.

The IAM suggested drivers were still travelling too fast on residential roads as the reduced speed limits had not been accompanied by changes to the visual appearance of the streets, but the council said it would gather more data as it was still too early to assess the true impact of the changes.

Mr Tilley said: “We’ll be monitoring closely the number of road collisions that occur in places where we have now introduced 20 mph areas.

“This is an important part of the project. As the introduction of the 20 mph areas is relatively recent, we do not yet have sufficient data to make a fair assessment of the impact of the scheme.

“I would stress road collision data is subject to random fluctuations and comparing short time periods does not yield quantifiable results from which we can draw a conclusion.

“We introduced the 20 mph areas because the evidence overwhelmingly suggests collisions at 20 mph are much less likely to prove life-threatening.”