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There is consensus among scientists, government officials and the general public that the energy transferred at the time of a motor vehicle crash (namely kinetic energy) results in the trauma that we observe presenting to our hospitals. We also know that the greater the speed at impact, the greater the kinetic energy and hence severity of injury. Clearly, anything that reduces the kinetic energy ipso facto reduces the level of trauma. In fact, we know from research in Scandinavia that even a 10% reduction in speed across the road network equates to 30–40% reduction in road fatalities.1 It is not surprising therefore that managing or containing travel speeds so that they reflect the road environment is merely ensuring that we can contain the kinetic energy in the unlikely event of a crash. This is the most fundamental tenet of road safety and one of the most effective ways of managing the burgeoning incidence of road injury.
Management of speed is the success story of road injury prevention, and much of this success can be attributed to the widespread roll-out of overt (such as red light) and covert (anytime anywhere or mobile) speed …
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.