This week is UN Road Safety Week, which highlights road traffic deaths and injuries and focuses on ways to reduce them. This year the week is headlined by the #SlowDown campaign, which is part of a plan to reduce road fatalities by 50 percent before 2020. Its suggestion? Lower speed limits.
The logic behind the Global Road Safety Week #SlowDown campaign is fairly simple: lower limits mean shorter braking distances, resulting in fewer accidents and lesser injuries to those involved when they do occur. According to research quoted by the UN, it takes around 14 meters (46 ft) to perform an emergency stop to from 30 km/h, as opposed to 20 m (66 ft) from 40 km/h (25 mph) and 27 m (89 ft) from 50 km/h (31 mph).
Lower limits also make a difference if the emergency stop doesn't prevent an accident entirely. As you'd expect, hitting a pedestrian at lower speed could be the difference between a bruise for a few days and a trip to the hospital or morgue.
According to the #SlowDown campaign, speed limits of 30 km/h (19 mph) in pedestrian zones, 50 km/h (31 mph) where there are crossroad intersections on the road, and 70 km/h (43 mph) on undivided continuous roads would reduce the chances of accidents in these areas. The campaign also suggests it should be easier for drivers to see what the speed limit is, through better signage and in-car technology.
Global Road Safety week runs from May 8 until May 14.
Source: UN Road Safety Week