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Changes to speed limit considered

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The speed limit for many rural single-carriageway roads could soon be cut from 60mph to 50mph, it has been revealed.

Despite the move being potentially unpopular, the Government said it was considering the option in order to cut the number of deaths among motorists and pedestrians.

However, a blanket ban is being discouraged by AA chiefs, who say ministers should consider a more "targeted approach".

Almost all single carriageways outside of towns are set at a limit of 60mph, except for at accident blackspots. Breaking this can not only result in a fine and three points, but also dramatic increases to the cost of car insurance.

Road safety minister Jim Fitzpatrick is now looking at reducing limits in a bid to improve the UK's road safety record, after it has slipped from among the best in the world over recent years.

There were 2,946 deaths and 30,000 serious injuries on British roads in 2007, with speed being cited as a factor in 29% of them.

Proposals to cut this number include the imposition of six penalty points for "excessive" speeding and greater punishments for using a mobile while behind the wheel.

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said any proposals would have to be based on evidence of the impact on casualties, emissions and journey times.

© Press Association 2009