A GRIEVING husband has launched a petition to cut the speed limit on a west Oxfordshire road where his wife became the eighth person to die in a decade.

Paul Bennett’s wife Linda died in a crash last November on the 60mph B4022 near Charlbury, just three days before her 54th birthday.

He is now calling for the county council to introduce a 40mph limit between Charlbury and Witney, following two deaths in the past 12 months.

The council is proposing a 50mph speed limit for the road as part of a county-wide review of speed limits. An existing 40mph limit at Finstock would be retained.

But Mr Bennett believes aa lower limit is justified for the entire road, after the council revealed there had been 147 accidents on it in the past 10 years. As well as the eight deaths, 36 people suffered serious injuries and 103 were slightly injured in the incidents.

He said: “It should be 40mph along the whole road. This is a very tricky road, with so many bends, twists and turns and adverse cambers.

“I think it’s really important to change the limit here.

“People only think speed is a factor in road deaths if someone is breaking the speed limit but what if the limit is wrong?

“Speed can also be an issue if someone is driving within the limit.

“Reducing this speed limit isn’t an infringement of people’s freedom.

“If it was, I would stand next to people to fight it.

“This is just common sense. I don’t want someone else’s wife or dad or son to die.

“I lost a dear, dear soul mate who will never be replaced.

“A tragic accident will happen again on this road if we do not do something about it.”

Motorcyclist Robert Smith, 46, from Hailey, died in April last year, when his motorcycle and an Audi A4 collided near the Crawley turn on the road, just half-a-mile from his home.

Mr Bennett is being backed in his campaign by Hailey Parish Council, which has received 20 emails from people in support of a 40mph limit, after calling for action in the Oxford Mail last month.

However the parish council would also like a speed warning signs and carriageway markings to help reduce speeds.

Andy Smith, vice-chairman of the parish council and the chairman of Witney’s Neighbourhood Action Group, said: “It’s a dangerous road, but we know changing the speed limit isn’t going to solve everything.

“However, it’s a step we should be taking to try to make it safer. I’m sure the petition will get a lot of signatures.”

Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Marcus Mabberley said: “We’re always happy to consider views on the speed limit review proposals.”

Mr Bennett will present his petition and address councillors at a meeting where they will be reviewing more than 80 speed limits in Oxfordshire at County Hall, in New Road, Oxford, on February 11.

Anyone who wants to write to support the petition should email their names, addresses and comments about the road to haileypc@live.co.uk