Road safety: Call for lower speed limits around schools

Family walking on the side of a road

Is speeding traffic putting you off the walk to school?

Parents across the UK worry for their children’s safety, with reports of unsafe roads rolling in.

Brake, a charity campaigning for road safety, is calling for 20mph speed limits to be implemented across the country to help mitigate the issue.

“Why do we have to wait until a child is killed before we act?” asks Lucy Straker, Campaigns Manager at Brake.

Putting the brakes on traffic around schools

New research from Brake shows parents and carers aren’t walking their children to school because of road safety concerns.

Of the reasons given, 36% said the roads are too busy, 25% said cars go too fast, and 64% said their school doesn’t have 20mph speed limits on all surrounding roads.

Recent figures show that parents’ concerns are valid. 11,580 children aged 15 or under were killed or injured on roads in the UK in 2021.

Over the last five years, an average of 13,503 children have been killed or injured on roads annually.

Provisional figures show 48 children died on UK roads in 2022, with excess speed being a factor in 25% of fatal crashes.

Walking for the right to road safety

In a plea to reduce the speed limit around schools from 30mph to 20mph across the UK, 110,000 schoolchildren took part in the supervised Brake’s Kids Walk with Shaun the Sheep.

The group carried banners and posters on 14 June as they walked around their communities to help raise awareness of their need for safe roads.

Lucy Straker said: “We know that excess speed is a factor in about a quarter of fatal crashes, and the physics is pretty straightforward: the faster a vehicle is travelling, the harder it hits and the greater the impact. A crash at 30mph has twice the amount of kinetic energy as a crash at 20mph. Reducing speed saves lives.”

“As schools up and down the country take part in Brake’s Kids Walk to shout out for safe places to walk, with slow traffic, we’re calling for roads around every school to have 20mph speed limits – and other measures to effectively reduce traffic speed – so children and their families can travel safely to and from school every day.”

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