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Shake-up to UK speed limits planned

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Plans to cut the annual driver death toll in the UK include dropping the limit for residential streets to 20mph and setting the maximum speed on some rural roads at 50mph, the Government announced.

The proposals by transport minister Jim Fitzpatrick are aimed at reducing the number of motoring deaths each year in Britain by one third by 2020.

Younger drivers are involved in more accidents than any other age range, as is reflected in the cost of car insurance premiums for drivers aged 17 to 25. To combat this, Mr Fitzpatrick also announced a shake-up to the driving test which would see 14 to 17-year-olds offered the chance of earning a partial credit towards the theory part of the test.

Any changes to rural road speed limits would need to be decided by local council highway authorities, as the Government currently only has responsibility for motorways and A roads. To this end, an annual map is to be published showing the rural roads with the poorest safety record, with an independent panel providing an annual report on road safety to Parliament.

If successful, the road safety strategy which the Government will now consult on, will mean annual road deaths could dip as low as 2,000 by 2020 having been as high as 8,000 in the mid-1960s.

© Press Association 2009