Apparently Driving Slow Doesn't Actually Save Lives


"Speed hasn't killed anyone, it's coming to a stop instantly that gets you."

Jeremy Clarkson once said that "speed has never killed anyone, it's coming to a stop instantly that gets you." He may have been joking at the time, but there was some truth to his statement. Clarkson believes that speed is not the true source of most major accidents. Instead, it is likely another source such as distracted driving. It seems like Clarkson's point about speed may have some truth to it, according to a recent UK study. The country implemented 20 mph "safe zones" that were meant to lower deaths, and so far they have not worked.

Cnet reports that the UK cities of Bath and Somerset, which both enacted the 20 mph "safe zones," have discovered that pedestrian deaths have actually gone up. The goal of the zones was to lower driver's velocity, so they could react quicker to pedestrians.

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If you ask Clarkson why the speed zones didn't work, he may say that most speed limits aren't effective because they force drivers to stare at the speedometer instead of looking ahead at the road. We are firm believers than driving fast doesn't equal driving dangerously. In fact, people who text and drive typically drive slower, and are much more dangerous on the road than a skilled driver who is speeding and paying attention. The ineffectiveness of these safe zones may put a big dent into the proponents of the "speed kills" initiative in the UK. In fact, many of the signs posted in these zones warn drivers of careless driving, not fast driving.

You'd think that the UK cities would learn their lesson and repeal these speed zones, but they were extremely costly to enforce. The councils spent 871,000 GBP ($1,165,576) to implement these zones, and it would reportedly cost the same amount to repeal them. We should mention that a few other UK cities paired these safe zones with other speed-limiting techniques like speed humps, lighting, and signage and saw reduced deaths and injuries.

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