Fibre Broadband & Sky TV

Get Sky Superfast Broadband and unmissable Sky Entertainment for just £39 per month for 18 months

Find out more.
Promoted by Sky

THE number of crashes on the A3049 Dorset Way has reduced by nearly 60 per cent since the introduction of the 50mph speed limit.

Borough of Poole and Dorset Police carried out an analysis of collision records for the busy dual carriageway to see what changes there have been since lowering the speed limit in January 2011. They compared police records for the six-year periods before and after the reduction.

When it was implemented, the lower speed limit on the Dorset Way, from Holes Bay to its junction with Ringwood Road, proved controversial with motorists. They argued a 50mph limit was not appropriate for a dual carriageway and speed was only a factor in a small proportion of collisions.

Safety concerns prompted the reduction from the national speed limit, with a quarter of Poole’s road deaths occurring on the Dorset Way in the four years prior to the change.

The recent study shows there are now, on average, 10 fewer injury collisions and 20 fewer casualties per year, including three fewer people being killed or seriously injured.

Overall, the number of collisions reduced from 105 in the 2005-2010 period to 43 in the 2011-2016 period.

In the ‘before’ period, there were eight crashes where ‘very likely’ or ‘possibly’ exceeding the speed limit was recorded as a contributory factor by the police. Of these, one was fatal and three resulted in serious injuries. This reduced to five after the limit was reduced, resulting in just one serious injury.

Also, the recorded incidence of aggressive and/or reckless driving, as well as loss of control, sudden braking and swerving, fell from 41 per cent to 27 per cent.


Mark Armstrong, Dorset Police road safety manager, said: “We work with local authorities who are responsible for setting speed limits as part of Dorset Road Safe, which brings together road enforcement, education and engineering agencies across the county.

“We’ve seen a reduction in the number of collisions along the Dorset Way since the 50mph speed limit was introduced, and we continue to work with partners in changing negative driver behaviour to continue this downward trend.”

As part of the study, comparisons were made with a nearby equivalent ‘control site’ – the national speed limit section of the Upton Bypass showed a net 27 per cent reduction in collisions, although this change was not shown to be statistically significant.

In Poole, over the same comparison periods there were 16 per cent fewer accidents.

Based on Department for Transport estimates of accident costs, the speed limit change saved the local economy up to £800,000 a year. The scheme itself cost around £15,000 to implement.

Martin Baker, senior engineer at Borough of Poole, said: “Since Borough of Poole lowered the speed limit on Dorset Way to 50mph, we have seen a significant reduction in the number of accidents occurring here each year. This reduction has helped improve safety for all users of this busy road.”