Written Answers : September 20th – 24th 2010
Invalid Vehicles: Accidents
Norman Baker [holding answer 14 September 2010]: I have discussed this matter with my colleague, the Parliamentary the Under-Secretary of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mike Penning) and with officials as part of a wider consideration of the topic of mobility scooters.
We are aware that the number of mobility vehicles is on the increase. In 2010 the Department initiated a survey to help assess the number of mobility scooter users and the extent to which their use may have injured people. I will be considering its conclusions as part of an overall review of the laws governing the use of mobility vehicles. The results of the survey can be viewed on the Department’s website at:
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent estimate he has made of the effect on the number of road accidents of the introduction of zonal 20 mph schemes in (a) Portsmouth and (b) Oxford; and if he will make a statement. 
The preliminary findings include that, in the areas covered by the 20 mph limits, recorded injury accident numbers have reduced from an average of 165 per year, during the three years before the speed limits were introduced, to 144 during the first year afterwards. This reduction of 13% is greater than the percentage fall in accident numbers nationally during the same period. A longer period after the introduction of the speed limits is likely to improve the robustness of the conclusions that can be drawn from the data.
The Department has more recently received accident information for the second year after the implementation of the 20 mph limits. This indicates that the annual average of the number of recorded personal injury accidents during the two years after the limits were introduced was about 21% less than the average during the three years beforehand. Again, nationally the number of accidents has fallen during that period, but by a smaller percentage.
The Department has also assessed the reduction of actual speeds in the areas of Portsmouth covered by the 20 mph speed limits. On average the mean speeds have fallen by about 1.3 mph. Previous research has indicated that such falls in average speeds in urban areas are typically associated with reductions in the numbers of injury accidents of about 7% (5% per mph of average speed reduction), which is consistent with the accident numbers recorded in Portsmouth.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidance he has provided to local authorities on the introduction of zonal 20 mph schemes in residential areas; and if he will make a statement. 
Mike Penning: Guidance on setting local speed limits, including that for 20 mile per hour zones is contained in Department for Transport Circular 01/2006: Setting Local Speed Limits published in August 2006 and Traffic
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Advisory Leaflet 9/99: 20mph Speed Limits and Zones published in June 1999. Copies of both documents are available in the House.
Speed Limits: Fines
Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will bring forward proposals for the level of speeding fines to be calculated in relation to the wealth of the driver and the speed recorded. 
Mike Penning: There are no plans to introduce a system of speeding fines calculated in relation to the wealth of drivers. Nor are there plans to introduce a penalty system with increased fines for those drivers exceeding the speed limit by a significant amount.