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Right direction to prove limits really do offer value for money
9:00am Tuesday 1st October 2013 in News
OXFORD’S 20mph zones have been controversial since the day they were brought in, in part because in some eyes it seemed a vanity project undone by a complete lack of enforcement.
Oxfordshire County Council spent £250,000 on changing the speed limit in many city roads and side streets.
But with Thames Valley Police refusing to enforce it, it was initially a hollow gesture.
A discord between the two organisations on policing our roads is not unknown: remember for a few months the force effectively abandoned Oxfordshire when the county council withdrew funding to the umbrella organisation, the Thames Valley Safer Roads Partnership.
Eventually the police began to sporadically enforce the new 20mph limit, but only for those travelling at 32mph or more.
Now it appears they will lower the threshhold for action to 24mph following a change in guidelines from the Association of Chief Police Officers.
That can only be a positive. After all, for the majority of motorists it is only the fear of being caught and fined that truly limits their speed.
While a reduction in the number of fatal or serious injury accidents has not been achieved, as we have reported the number of minor injury collisions has dropped since the new limit came in.
Maybe that is not quite the result that was hoped, but motorists now in fear of police officers about to ping them for travelling at 25mph should see another drop in average speeds.
And if that is achieved then finally the county council will be able to prove this project was money well spent.
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