As of this Tuesday, May 11, the limitation of the speed at which vehicles can circulate in certain urban areas comes into force. The new regulation reduces to 30 kilometers per hour the maximum speed at which it is possible to circulate on the streets with a single lane in each direction of travel and to 20 kilometers per hour on roads that have a single platform of carriageway and sidewalk. The current limit of 50 kilometers per hour will only be maintained on roads with two or more lanes per direction of movement.
The coming traffic regulations: speed in the city is reduced and scooters are obliged just like the car
These measures were approved by the Government last November, although their application has been delayed so that citizens are properly aware of them and for public administrations to have enough time to adapt the signage. The General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) has prepared a document with recommendations for municipalities that includes answers to the doubts and cases that local administrations have been raising in this regard. The document responds to 32 situations and real examples that can be found on the streets of cities.
During his presentation last November, the Interior Minister, Fernando Grande Marlaska, justified these limitations in light of the increase in accidents in urban areas. According to DGT figures, fatalities from accidents in cities increased by 6% in 2019, mainly in the so-called vulnerable users, who already exceed those killed in four-wheelers.
“We have more and more actors and there is an interaction in the streets of our cities. This interaction and with all these actors is not possible to guarantee safety at speeds greater than 30 kilometers per hour is not possible. Period”, said the director of Traffic, Pere Navarro, in the presentation of the manual.
According to DGT, the reasons that have led it to implement this measure are, in the first place, the demand of the municipalities to have a regulatory legal umbrella and to be able to apply the 30 kilometers per hour in their localities.
Traffic argues that with the lowering of the maximum speed limits allowed in cities, the risk of dying as a result of a run over is also reduced by 80%. If the speed of the impacting vehicle is 30 kilometers per hour, the risk is 10%, while if the speed is 50 kilometers per hour, that risk of death rises to 90%. According to DGT data, it also halves the distance it takes to stop the vehicle, going from 50 kilometers per hour to 30.
In this context, Traffic maintains that the existing experiences of zones 30 in cities show “the positive effect” on the accident rate, with reductions in accidents that have reached over 40%. Also, environmental noise falls by half, according to the report of recommendations of the Group of Academic Experts for the 3rd global ministerial conference on road safety.