Covid-19 - Lower the baseline

Animation produced by: www.ilyannakerr.com

April 9th saw the launch of a national campaign supported by leading doctors to call upon the UK Government to demand 20mph as an Emergency National Urban Limit. We all want to help the NHS during the Covid-19 crisis. The doctors that we are relying on have called on the UK Government to change the national speed limit to 20mph from 30mph. They are clear that setting a 20mph speed limit will reduce pressure on the NHS now and for the future. 20’s Plenty for Us, the national campaign for 20mph limits with 460 local community campaigns, is supporting our doctors’ calls for the UK Government to act now.

There has never been a more urgent time for Government action to protect the NHS from having to treat preventable road casualties, so keeping resources and beds free for Covid-19 patients. Setting a national 20mph limit is an affordable, practical and cost-effective step that the UK Government is able to take to help the NHS and support our doctors at this critical time.

Doctors have named their campaign ‘lower the baseline’ load on the NHS https://lowerthebaseline.org/

Dr Robert Hughes (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) and 109 other doctors wrote in the Times on 25th March

“..each month there are nearly 3,000 road traffic collision-related admissions to NHS hospitals in England alone.  Lowering and enforcing speed limits would reduce the frequency and severity of road traffic collisions.”

A British Medical Journal blog by population health expert Prof. Sunil Bhopal on 24th March said

“First, we suggest an immediate reduction in motor vehicle speed limits. In England alone there are around 35,000 non-fatal admissions to hospital every year related to road traffic accidents; … In Canada, lowering the speed limit from 40km/h to 30km/h (20mph) was associated with a 28% decrease in pedestrian-motor vehicle collisions and a 67% decrease in major and fatal injuries. We therefore suggest that the government urgently explore an emergency reduction of all national speed limits to 50mph, and to 20mph in urban areas.”

Rod King MBE, Founder and Campaign Director of 20’s Plenty for Us said

“It is in the Government’s power and interest to change all 30mph limits to 20mph by making appropriate public announcements, without any need to change road signs. The precedent already exists to change national speed limits in an emergency. The Government changed national speed limits in the 1974 fuel crisis to save petrol and it must do this in the 2020 Covid-19 crisis to save lives. This move will match the mood all of us to do everything possible for our NHS resources and staff.”

Note :- Driving less fast prevents collisions and reduces the numbers and severity of road victims the NHS has to care for at this critical time. In 2019 the Welsh Government started planning a national 20mph policy. In February 2020, the UK signed up to an enforced 20mph national speed limit in the ‘Stockholm Declaration’ of global best practice for speeds in built-up areas.