Government admits speeding fatality statistics were exaggerated
The Department for Transport has admitted that statistics used in a recent Think! anti-speeding campaign were wildly exaggerated.
The campaign, which ran from 2004, claimed that if you hit a child at 40mph there was an 80 percent chance of them dying, while if you hit them at 30mph there was just a 20 percent chance they wouldn't survive. However, it has emerged that the figures were from the 1970s and had not been adjusted for modern cars.
New research shows that the chance of a pedestrian surviving a moderate speed accident is much higher. Just seven percent of accident victims will be killed in a 30mph crash, while 31 percent will be killed at 40mph.
A spokeswoman for the DfT said this reduction was down to improvements in car technology and safety, and medical advancements made in the last four decades. She also admitted that the 1970s samples had not been weighted properly for the whole of the UK's car population.
"Road safety is a priority for the Government, but misleading statistics only serve to undermine our case, not help it," Mike Penning, the road safety minister, told The Telegraph.
"However, the fact remains that the risk of death is still approximately four times higher when a pedestrian is hit at 40mph than at 30mph. So no one should be in any doubt that 30mph limits protect pedestrians, and that to speed through residential areas puts lives at risk."
Penning accepted that the Labour Government had used the previous figures in good faith, but said that the updated figures should be released as soon as they were available.
"This Government will be absolutely straight with the public. That's why we have published this data as soon as we were made aware of it," he said.