Why do we have 20mph limits?

Lower speed limits help to create safer living environments and preserve lives.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) reports that most fatal accidents involving pedestrians take place in built-up areas where, increasingly, 20mph speed limits are being called for.

Why? The figures speak for themselves: a pedestrian hit by a car travelling at 30mph is more likely to suffer fatal injuries than they would were they hit at 20mph – the chance of survival increases from 92% to 97%. It’s clear that a slower vehicle is a safer one.

As 20mph speed limits are more widely introduced, drivers exceeding them may face fines or even driving bans. It’s vital to stay informed, keeping your eyes peeled for 20mph signs and observing traffic-calming measures – often an indicator that you’re in a 20mph zone.

Of course, we’re all human and mistakes do happen. Many drivers fall foul of speed limits, receiving points on their licences and, in some cases, convictions.

One moment’s lapse in concentration can significantly affect daily life, as many of us heavily rely on our vehicles to get around.

Insurance Factory understands the pressures convicted drivers face. Getting back behind the wheel can be stressful and finding reliable cover can mean higher premiums.

Here at Insurance Factory, we believe in second chances, offering affordable convicted driver insurance tailored to your individual circumstances.

We want to help you enjoy your driving journey again, so we’ve created this guide covering everything you need to know about 20mph speed limits.

Where are 20mph roads?

A speedometer dial in a carYou’ll find 20mph speed limits in built-up areas, along residential roads and streets in urban districts, towns and villages with dense populations.

According to RoSPA, most pedestrian fatalities take place in such areas.

Let’s take a look at the stats:
  • In 2016, out of 22 child fatalities, 19 occurred on built-up roads.
  • In the same year, out of 448 adult fatalities, 338 occurred in built-up locations.
  • Over half of cyclist fatalities occurred in built-up areas – 62 out of 101 in 2016.
  • The majority of cyclist casualties also take place on built-up roads – 16,886 out of 18,321 in 2016.
  • During 2017, 792 pedestrian fatalities and 17,125 serious injuries took place in built-up areas – a significant proportion of which were residential roads, with 102 out of 792 fatalities occurring on B roads and 298 taking place on minor roads.

The Department for Transport recommends that traffic authorities should roll out more 20mph zones and limits throughout such areas, increasing the safety of both pedestrians and cyclists.

These 20mph limits help minimise the chance of road collisions, which means fewer pedestrian fatalities and injuries caused by vehicles.

They also improve residents’ quality of life, creating a safer, happier environment, which in turn, encourages people to get out and about, running, cycling and walking.

There are two categories into which 20mph areas fall:

20mph limits

20mph limits do not involve physical measures to decrease vehicular speed.

Repeater signs indicate a 20mph speed limit to drivers within the area, encouraging them to maintain the legal limit.

These often occur on roads where vehicles already drive at relatively low speeds – roughly around 24mph.

20mph zones

These areas feature a ‘self-enforcing’ design, employing traffic calming measures as a means of controlling drivers’ speeds.

Alongside signage, road narrowing, speed bumps, chicanes and planting are all used to raise drivers’ awareness of a road’s heavy pedestrian usage.

You’ll often find 20mph zones around pedestrian-heavy areas such as schools and housing estates, where children are likely to play on or near the road.

What are the fines if you break the speed limit?

A sign next to a road depicting a speed cameraIf you’re caught exceeding the speed limit, the amount you could be fined depends on the speed at which you’re travelling; according to Which? this determines which ‘band’ you fall into:

Band A - 21-30mph: 3 points, fined 25-75% of your weekly income

Band B – 31-41mph: 4-6 points or 7-28 days disqualification, fined 75-125% of your weekly income

Band C – 41mph and over: 6 points or 7-56 days disqualification, fined 125-175% of your weekly income

The minimum penalty is currently £100 – 3 points will also be added to your licence. The maximum fine is set at £1,000 - £2,500 if the speeding offence occurs on a motorway.

Higher fines could be adjusted, with courts considering factors such as bad weather, density of pedestrians and emergency situations. However, you could find your fine.

It’s vital to observe speed limits and secure reliable convicted driver insurance so you can stay protected behind the wheel.

If you accept and plead guilty to a speeding offence, you may find your sentence reduced.

If you plead not guilty and the court rules against you, you could face a greater fine and receive a greater number of penalty points, as well as a driving disqualification or even a suspended licence.

Staying safe on the road

Speed limits are enforced for a reason. According to the road safety charity Brake, if you’re driving at 20mph, your stopping distance is 12 metres, or three car lengths.

Drive at just 10mph faster than this and the distance you need to stop increases to six car lengths – quite a difference.

Sticking to the speed limit is safer for both drivers and pedestrians. It’s hard getting back on the road as a convicted driver, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t enjoy a fresh, safety-conscious start.

Here at Insurance Factory, we’re all for clean slates. Convicted drivers often struggle to find reasonably priced, fair cover, making it even harder to get back on the road.

We offer convicted driver insurance, tailored to your specific needs. We’ll consider driving convictions such as:
  • IN10s - driving without insurance
  • DR10s - driving or attempting to drive with a blood alcohol level exceeding allowable limits
  • SP50s - exceeding the speed limit on a motorway
  • DD10s - driving in a dangerous manner
  • DD20s - driving at a dangerous speed
  • DD30s - reckless driving

We have 20 years’ worth of experience helping convicted drivers find affordable cover, so you’ll be in good hands.

Don’t wait – get a quote today.