HARD-HITTING images of injured children are the focus of a new campaign to drive home the message that obeying the new 20mph limits in Lancashire’s residential areas could save lives.
The posters on billboards and bus shelters highlight Department for Transport research that shows a person hit at 30mph is seven times more likely to die than a person hit at 20mph.
The launch comes as 20mph signs have now been installed on more than half of residential roads as part of Lancashire County Council’s programme to establish 20mph as the new limit on all residential roads and outside schools by the end of 2013.
Casualty records in Lancashire show 68% of accidents where people are seriously killed or injured are recorded in 30mph areas, and 79% of these are either on foot or cyclists.
County Councillor Geoff Driver, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “Many areas of Lancashire now have 20mph limits and this campaign highlights why we’ve introduced them.
“Although accident rates have fallen in recent years, figures show that some parts of Lancashire have among the worst accident records in the country. The images used in the campaign are hard-hitting because our research suggests they will be an effective way of encouraging drivers to recognise the serious consequences the 20mph areas are designed to guard against.
“The new limits will only add a short time to most car journeys and the message is that taking an extra minute or so could be enough to save somebody’s life.”
The county council recently announced very promising results from three pilot 20mph schemes which have been established for approximately 18 months. In the three years before the 20mph limits were introduced the total number of casualties across the three areas was 137. But in the period since, only 25 injury accidents have been recorded.
A senior paramedic from the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust advised the county council on the type of injuries that, from their experience, a child could expect to suffer if knocked down by a car at 20mph, or higher speed.
Ian Walmsley, NWAS Sector Manager for East Lancashire, said: “In my 30 year career I’ve attended many accidents where people have been hit by cars, and those involving children are often the most distressing.
“There is nothing more harrowing than turning up to a scene where a child has been killed and you know that by reducing the speed by just 10mph could have saved their life. In the scheme of things that one minute extra on your journey is nothing when you are considering someone’s life.”
Lancashire Constabulary is also supporting the campaign by highlighting the link between speeding and accidents which result in death or injury, and the knock-on impact upon families.
PC Jason Moore explained: “As an experienced Family Liaison Officer within the Roads Policing Unit, my most difficult task is having to meet a family and deliver the most devastating news imaginable – that their child has died.
“Many road accidents take place on residential roads and reducing speeds in these areas could make a real difference to the outcome for the hundreds of families who are affected by injuries and deaths each year.”
The 20mph areas are part of an overarching initiative called Healthy Streets, which ties together many areas of the council’s work such as encouraging people to walk, cycle and car share, to improve safety by reducing the dominance of motor vehicles on residential roads.