Congestion charge has increased road safety

Updated: 
Britain Congestion charge
ASSOCIATED PRESS

While it has proved a controversial move amongst the capital's motorists, the London congestion charge has had a positive impact on road safety, according to new research.

Traffic accidents in the restricted zone in central London have fallen by a third in the 11 years the charge has been in operation. This is despite an increase in the average speed of traffic through the zone due to lowered traffic levels.

Since 2003, the number of accidents in the congestion charge area has dropped from 120 to 80 each month, though vehicles are now travelling at an average of 8.6mph faster, according to economists at Lancaster University Management School, which conducted the study.

It is estimated there are 46 fewer serious or fatal accidents on the roads in central London since the charge was introduced. The rate of accidents also decreased during evenings and weekends, when no charge is imposed on drivers entering the zone.

The study reflects a general decline in traffic accidents across the UK. The rate of collisions on British roads fell by a considerable 35 per cent between 2001 and 2009.

Stephen Glaister, of the RAC Foundation, welcomed the news, but warned: "Much of the traffic in the congestion charge zone will be commercial or passenger related. Professional drivers are likely to be more aware of the consequences to their livelihood if they have an accident and lose their licences," The Times reports.

Do you regularly drive within the London congestion zone? Have you noticed a difference in traffic conditions? Have your say in the comments section below.