The risk of death in an accident at speeds between 30 and 50 kilometers per hour is multiplied by five, according to a report by the International Transport Forum (FIT) for the Organization for Cooperation and Development (OECD). The electric scooter that rolled deadly a woman of 90 years in Esplugues de Llobregat (Barcelona) last summer circulated at a speed close to 30 kilometers per hour, the usual maximum for this type of vehicles. To this was added the possible distraction of the driver, who is investigated if he used the mobile at the time of the event. All the factors of this accident coincided with those of greater risk: possible lack of attention, cause of 80% of the accidents, according to the Virginia Transportation Research Council, speed higher than 20 kilometers per hour and a pedestrian involved. 50% of deaths are registered among the most vulnerable users: walkers, cyclists and motorcyclists, according to the World Health Organization.
The FIT report calculates that a reduction of five kilometers per hour reduces the risks of fatal accidents by 28%, so this dependent organization recommends lowering the limits in urban areas with intersections and high risk of side-to-side collisions and in residential urban areas, where vehicles They share space with the most vulnerable users.
"The inadequate speed, even within the limits but without adjusting to the conditions of the road, the vehicle or the driver, is a problem of road safety," concludes the FIT, a dependent body dependent on the OECD.
The high speed, argue the authors of the report, not only increases the possibility of accident, but also the severity of the injuries that are caused. In this sense, the text recalls physical evidence: "The faster the released kinetic energy increases the square of the speed"
When the speed increases, the reaction time and the ability to maneuver decrease. The average time to react to an unexpected event and choose an appropriate response is one second, a period of time not available from 30 kilometers per hour.
These data have been ratified by the Facthum.lab Research Group of the University of Valencia, which has established that "excessive speed reduces reaction time, makes it difficult to control the vehicle and rectifies the trajectory, increases aggression and driver stress and alters the sensory functioning (decreasing the visual field) and the physiological (increasing the level of fatigue) ".
In addition, according to the General Directorate of Mobility and Transport of the European Commission, speed is decisive in 30% of fatal accidents and the excess of it increases both the risk of accidents and the likelihood of serious injuries or death.
In the case of cars, a study by the General Directorate of Traffic (Report and analysis on the influence of driving assistance systems on road safety and its application for vehicle classification) The widespread implementation of assistance systems, known as ADAS, would reduce the severity of accidents by 57% and would avoid a figure of 51,000 accidents and their consequences.
These systems are the FCW (frontal collision alert), AEBS (automatic emergency braking), SLI (speed limit indicator) and ACC (adaptive cruise control). However, in the case of other vehicles that are becoming widespread in urban transport, these devices are marginal or nonexistent.