The Telegraph follows up on a subject covered earlier in Price Tags-studies conducted at universities are showing that children have perceptual limitations when judging whether it is safe to cross a street with traffic going over 20 miles per hour (32 kilometers per hour).
Royal Holloway College at London University suggests that children may not even be able to perceive that cars are approaching them. “Driving over 20 mph in a residential or school area not only increases the potential severity of any impact, but also increases the risk that a child will injudiciously cross in front.”
Many municipalities in Great Britain including Portsmouth and Hull are slowing traffic down to 20 miles per hour in residential areas, noting that “Travelling one mile though a residential area at 20 mph vs. 30 mph will only add 60 seconds to journey time. We encourage drivers to take a minute and save a child’s life”.
While the previous British government advocated for slowing municipal speeds, the current governmental coalition has been more reticent, saying that such decisions rests with the municipalities. That is surprising when statistics show that over 1,600 children in Great Britain were killed or seriously maimed by cars in 2009 statistics.
Drivers needs to recognize the hazards. As Anna Semlyen, Campaign Manager for 20s Plenty for Us stated “It’s simplistic to blame children saying they “run out”, without checking. But this study suggests it is fast motor vehicles that create the errors, as it is then impossible for kids to make correct judgments. It’s up to adults to protect children through 20 mph limits and for drivers to obey the signs.”