Doctors Call for National Speed Limits to Be Cut to Reduce Burden on NHS

By Shabana Arif on at

Staying indoors to stop the spread of coronavirus is all well and good, but there are some people out there who think not enough is being done to reduce non-coronavirus-related instances of hospitalisation. One such group is comprised of a bunch of doctors calling for an emergency reduction of the speed limit for the duration of the pandemic.

Lower the Baseline is campaigning for additional action that will supplement social distancing, and will 'lower the baseline' by reducing healthcare admissions overall. The group wants to see a rollout of public health measures that will lower the overall demand on the NHS, citing road traffic collision-related admissions as a drain on the system right now. Dr Robert Hughes, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, sent a letter to the Times last month saying:

"Each month there are nearly 3,000 road traffic collision-related admissions to NHS hospitals in England alone.  Lowering and enforcing speed limits would reduce the frequency and severity of road traffic collisions.”

This was followed by a British Medical Journal blog post by Professor Sunil Bhopal just a few days later, saying:

"First, we suggest an immediate reduction in motor vehicle speed limits. In England alone there are around 35,000 non-fatal admissions to hospital every year related to road traffic accidents.

"In Canada, lowering the speed limit from 40km/h to 30km/h (20mph) was associated with a 28% decrease in pedestrian-motor vehicle collisions and a 67% decrease in major and fatal injuries.

"We therefore suggest that the government urgently explore an emergency reduction of all national speed limits to 50mph, and to 20mph in urban areas."

In the wake of all that, a group established in 2007, called 20's Plenty for Us, that wants a mandatory speed limit of 20mph "for most roads" in the UK, has latched on to the messaging, and anything else it can find that could be used to support its agenda - like this blog post that wants the reduced speed limit implemented before lockdown ends to set a new normal and establish "future travel patterns".

No word yet on getting people to stop smoking, eating sugar, or doing anything else that may land them in hospital during this time, so get ready to stop doing all of that to be a responsible citizen, you selfish git. [TransportXtra]

Feature image credit: Unsplash