Rishi Sunak’s driving law changes could be “catastrophic” and cause more deaths, according to personal injury lawyers.
Jonathan Wheeler, Managing Partner at law firm Bolt Burdon Kemp stressed that the Prime Minister’s expected 20mph speed limit rollback could have dire consequences.
Under the current rules, local traffic authorities are allowed to set limits in their local areas, including reducing them to 20mph.
But, Mr Sunak has been tipped to block councils from introducing the 20mph restrictions under a new “plan for motorists”.
There may also be new curbs on councils’ abilities to impose fines from traffic cameras and box junction infringements.
He is expected to make the announcement at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester this weekend in a bid to steer the party towards the next General Election.
However, Mr Wheeler warned of the risks involved with such a policy with children understood to be at risk.
He said: “If Rishi Sunak bans councils from imposing the 20mph limit, the result could be catastrophic.
“As personal injury lawyers, some of the most serious cases we deal with result from car on pedestrian accidents in built up areas – where more people are, where children play, and where walkers cross the road.
“TFL’s own figures show that since reducing the speed limit in built up areas from 30mph to 20mph, the number of collisions involving vulnerable road users has reduced by 36 percent, and people suffering serious injuries or dying are down 25 percent. These are significant numbers which should not be ignored.
“We also know that someone is five times more likely to be killed by being hit by a car at 30 mph than at 20mph – so, if the Prime Minister puts the limit back up to 30mph, more people will be killed or seriously injured.”
It comes just a week after Mr Sunakl watered down the Government’s petrol and diesel car ban with the policy now pushed back to 2035.
The speed limit changes will also be made less than a month after Wales introduced a nationwide 20mph limit on restricted roads.
The new rules faced widespread opposition but the Welsh Government decided to go ahead with the concept to boost road safety.
Mr Wheeler added: “We see how serious accidents devastate people’s lives. None of my clients would want what happened to them happen to anyone else. On their behalf, I say we should stick with 20.
“If you’re driving, it may take you a little longer to complete your journey. But you’ll do so more safely.”