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FLEETS should back wider use of 20mph limits in urban areas on risk management grounds according to software and management specialist FleetCheck.

Managing Director Peter Golding said that while the subject had become politically controversial, the argument for car and van operators was quite clear cut.

“When the Welsh government introduced a blanket 20mph limit last year, they did so on the grounds that it would save lives every year. It’s a position that very much chimes with fleet management best practice. Obviously, the speed limit on any road is a balance between journey time and accident risk, but it is very difficult to imagine that any vehicle operators are having their overall efficiency reduced in urban areas by a switch from 30mph to 20mph.

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“In risk management terms, the case for wider use of 20mph is pretty much clear cut and because it is likely to reduce accidents, should be welcomed by fleets where it is proposed to replace current 30mph limits.”

Golding added that arguments against 20mph limits appeared to be mainly coming from private motorists who felt that it was simply too slow. “There’s no doubt that the first time you drive through a lengthy 20mph zone, it does feel as though you are travelling at a much reduced speed but the truth is that by the time you have added all the normal journey factors into the equation – from congestion to traffic lights – you won’t be arriving at your destination any more than a few moments later.

“Sadly, it’s a debate that is becoming less and less fact-based and more about politics. For that reason, politicians themselves may think twice before wider implementation in the future. However, fleets, with very real Health and Safety responsibilities, are bound to take a different view.”

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