CHARLES GRAHAM - A real life-saver at last

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MANY a happy weekend has been spent exploring the wonderful countryside that the North West has to offer.

The serpentine country lanes, such as those in the Trough of Bowland, make for relatively slow progress (especially when stuck behind a tractor). But with such stunning scenery to take in, who’s rushing?

That said, there do always seem to be one or two folk who are in a hurry, driving at lunatically fast speeds around these narrow roads whose hazards also include blind bends, unexpected junctions and hump-backed bridges.

And yet for the most part they are not breaking the law because the speed limit is usually 60mph.

Crazy I know, especially as almost half of all road deaths in 2010 in the UK took place on single carriageway rural roads with a 60mph speed limit.

But only now is the issue being finally tackled by a Government.

Under the plans, which are open to public consultation, knocking 10 or 20mph off the countryside limit is being proposed. Also a reduction to 40mph is also being considered where there is “substantial development” or where there are a considerable number of horse-riders, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

A cut to 50mph would be considered for lower quality A and B roads with a relatively high number of bends or junctions and where mean speeds are already below 50mph.

Some speed freaks may think this a backwards step, but in all honesty is it right that someone can drive a two-ton piece of deadly metal at the same velocity on a winding country lane as they can a on a straight and wide dual-carriageway?

With latest figures showing deaths on the roads are going back up, these moves