New road safety proposals announced

* Speed limits would be cut * Changes for learner drivers * Plans to reduce deaths by one-third...

New road safety proposals announced

Road safety minister Jim Fitzpatrick has announced a number of new proposals, aimed at making the UK's roads safer.

Most significant is the recommendation of reduced speed limits on urban and rural roads. The plans call for a review of speed limits on single carriageway rural roads, where the limit could be cut from 60mph to 50.

The new strategy could also result in the introduction of 20mph limits for streets around schools and in residential areas.

There are also changes to driver training. A new voluntary pre-driver qualification in safe road use for 14-17-year-olds would count as a partial credit for the theory test, allowing learner drivers to take an abridged test from October 2009.

Case studies would be introduced into the theory test and there are also plans to develop a new vocational qualification for van drivers.

The new plans are aimed at helping meet a proposed target for 2020 to reduce the number of people killed in road collisions by 33%.

Jim Fitzpatrick said: 'We want to make Britain's roads the safest in the world. That will mean improving vehicles and the road network as well as helping drivers and other road users to be as safe as possible.

'The major changes to the driver training and testing process will create better-prepared drivers, while our plans for the next 10 years aim to make the roads and vehicles they use safer, and so prevent many of the terrible crashes that cut short lives and tear families apart.'