Drivers want speed rather than safety

ACCIDENT figures have fallen dramatically since new speed limits were introduced on the A140 - but most people who replied to a consultation document want them relaxed.

ACCIDENT figures have fallen dramatically since new speed limits were introduced on the A140 - but most people who replied to a consultation document want them relaxed.

That is the main finding of a report to be considered by Ipswich council's rights of way committee next week.

The number of casualties on the section of road where a temporary 50mph speed limit was imposed last year almost halved, from 19 to 10, and no-one was killed or seriously injured on that section of the road.

There was a fatality on the A140 in Suffolk in February - but that was a Creeting St Mary on a section of the road that has a 40mph limit which is not part of the 50mph experiment.

Despite the improvements in safety most of the people who replied to the county council's consultation document wanted the speed limits to be increased.

Of the 348 people who replied, 74 wanted the 50mph speed limits to be made permanent while 274 were against them.

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Of these 139 consultees said the speed limits led to frustration on the road, 116 said they led to more bunching of traffic and 89 said they led to more overtaking and risky driving. Among those in favour of retaining the limits, the main reason was that the road is now much safer.

Nurse Kathy Sparkes was seriously injured in an accident on the A140 in 2002. She felt that improving safety had to be the first priority for councillors.

She said: “I still use the A140 and it doesn't feel any safer - but it might just be that I'm more aware of the risks now.

“It's interesting to hear that the number of accidents has fallen. From my point of view I would say that anything to improve safety has to be the most important factor.

“I know people complain about the speed limits and the changes between them but if they make the road safer that has to be the most important thing.”

County council transport spokesman Guy McGregor said he could not prejudge the decision about the speed limit - but pointed out that any question is likely to provoke more responses from people unhappy with a situation.

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