Drivers issued a warning to prepare for the switch in road limits starting on Sunday.

Caution Urged as Speed Limits Drop in Wales: Rely on Signs, Not Sat Navs

Introduction: As Welsh roads prepare for a reduction in speed limits from 30mph to 20mph starting this Sunday, drivers are being advised against relying solely on sat navs for speed information. The RAC has cautioned motorists to prioritize road signs over electronic devices following this significant change.

The Speed Limit Transition: The forthcoming shift in speed limits will see most 30mph roads in Wales lowered to 20mph. However, it’s worth noting that councils retain the authority to grant exemptions, allowing them some discretion in enforcing the new limits.

Defacement Reports and Economic Concerns: Reports have emerged of the new speed limit signs being defaced in various areas, including Conwy, Gwynedd, Newport, Torfaen, Wrexham, and Flintshire. Notably, the Welsh Conservatives, who oppose this speed limit rollout, have cited Welsh Government estimates suggesting that the economic cost to the country, resulting from increased journey times due to lower average vehicle speeds, could range from £2.7 billion to £8.9 billion.

Mixed Reactions and Prioritizing Road Safety: Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt expressed skepticism about a default 20mph limit for many roads but acknowledged circumstances where it might be beneficial. Meanwhile, the RAC’s head of policy, Simon Williams, emphasized the need for drivers to remain fully aware of the new 20mph limit and to pay close attention to road signage. He cautioned against relying solely on sat navs until they are updated to reflect the new speed limits.

Williams noted that compliance with 20mph limits is currently low, suggesting that targeting areas with high footfall or residential roads may be more effective in terms of road safety. However, he believes that the overall reduction in speeds resulting from the new limits will positively impact road safety.

First Minister’s Perspective: First Minister Mark Drakeford defended the speed limit reduction, stating that it would save lives and contribute to a £92 million annual NHS cost savings in Wales. He emphasized that the transition would be gradual and reasonable, with enforcement authorities giving people time to adjust to the new limits. Drakeford also underlined the “incontrovertible” evidence supporting slower speeds in urban areas as a means of saving lives.

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