By collaborating with their police force, local authorities could institute public prosecutions for non-compliance with 20mph limits to transform community streets.
It is an established fact that lower speeds reduce casualties and 20mph is a key threshold above which pedestrian and cyclist danger rises rapidly. That is why the best practice internationally (WHO, OECD, Global Network for Road Safety legislators, iRAP) calls for an enforced 30km/h (20mph) speed limit where pedestrians and cyclists mix with motor vehicles.
But whilst local authorities can gain large societal benefits from properly marketed and enforced wide-area 20mph limits, a cap on police resources and competing calls for those resources means that many forces are reluctant to commit sufficient resources to deter non-compliance.
A generally held view that it is only the police that can enforce 20mph or other limits. However, legislation may provide appropriate scope for local authorities to institute criminal proceedings for speed limit violation if it is authorised by a police force to do so. The rationale and references for this are detailed in our briefing sheet.
Local Authorities can, by prior arrangement, use their powers in collaboration with their police force to initiate public prosecutions against speeding drivers as well as having the powers to identify registered keepers of vehicles. Benefits are :-
- Costs of robust enforcement would be aligned with the societal benefits to the local authority.
- There would be increased benefits far beyond those 20mph successes already being achieved with minimal enforcement such as Bristol and Calderdale.
- There would be a transformational reduction in vehicle speed from increased compliance as a result of more robust enforcement.
- A sharing of the burden for enforcing 20mph limits could free up police resources for other work.
Rod King MBE, Founder and Campaign Director of 20’s Plenty for Us commented :-
“Speeding blights our communities, causing fear and violation of our right to walk and cycle safely through our streets where we live, work, shop, play and learn. With communities reaping the benefits of lower vehicle speeds with safer active travel, better public health, lower casualties and lower pollution then it is entirely appropriate that local authorities should work with police to share responsibilities for enforcement to provide enhanced compliance with 20mph limits.
Such a move takes no power away from the police yet simply enables our places to be better places by providing a robust deterrent to drivers who fail to comply with speed limits set by democratically elected councillors.
 Global consensus that 20mph is best practice. http://www.20splenty.org/20mph_global_best_practice