20mph: Welsh drivers’ average speed dropped by 4mph – DollarJob

20mph: Welsh drivers’ average speed dropped by 4mph


The new speed limits were brought in during September 2023, with the majority of residential roads in Wales changing from 30mph to 20mph.

This was, according to the Welsh Government, to help save lives – but the move was met with unprecedented backlash from the public with over 460,000 people signing a petition calling for a U-turn.

Now, new Transport for Wales (TfW) data released this month has revealed how the average speed of drivers has dropped on 20mph roads.

Road sensors measured speed from over three million vehicles across nine locations in Wales over a two week period between November and December.

Data gathered shows the average speeds on main roads dropped an average of 4mph – from 28.9mph to 24.8mph.

The Welsh Government says this provides ‘clear evidence’ that speeds are ‘moving in the right direction’.


The government also says that research shows a strong link between lowering speeds and decreasing the number of collisions and people injured.

They say that, on urban roads with low average speeds, there is an average of 6% reduction in collisions per 1mph reduction in average speed.

Deputy Minister for Climate Change, with responsibility for transport, Lee Waters said: “The latest data published today is clear evidence that average speeds are coming down on roads across Wales.

“We also know from data published by Go Safe earlier this month that 97% of drivers are complying with the new slower speed limit – behaviours and attitudes towards 20mph are beginning to change.

“We’ve still got a way to go, but it’s encouraging to see that things are moving in the right direction. Every 1mph reduction in speed makes a real difference – so this is a real turning point.

“The international evidence is clear, lower speeds saves lives – that’s fewer collisions, fewer deaths and fewer severe injuries, reducing the devastation to individuals and their families and the significant impact on the NHS and other emergency services.”

The Chief Executive of the road safety charity, Brake, Ross Moorlock added: “It’s encouraging to see how the new 20mph speed limit has reduced the overall speeds of these roads.

The Leader: 20mph speed limitPIC: 20mph speed limits were introduced on Wales’ residential roads in September 2023.

“Every day, five people die on UK roads and speed is a factor in every crash. The faster we drive, the greater our risk of crashing, and the harder we hit if we do crash.

“We know that road crashes have a devastating impact on families and communities. Sadly, we see this first-hand every day through the work of our National Road Victim Service, which last year supported more than 1,500 families who have been bereaved by a road crash or suffered catastrophic, life-changing injuries.

“We hope that governments and local authorities across the UK will take Wales’ lead and adopt 20mph as the default speed on roads where people and vehicles mix.”

Here’s how much speed limits changed in some parts of north Wales (according to the TfW data):

  • Llanrug (Gwynedd) – 31mph before new limit, 24.1mph after (average speed difference of -5.3) 
  • Penrhyn Bay (Conwy) – 31mph before new limit, 24.9mph after (average speed difference of -6.1)
  • Wrexham – 27.9mph before new limit, 23.2mph after (average speed difference of -4)

TfW’s data also states that the percentage of vehicles travelling below 30mph in Buckley – one of the areas where the speed limits were first trialled – has remained consistent at 88% since the new 20mph speed limit was introduced.

The percentage of vehicles travelling below 20mph has decreased slightly from 38% to 36%.

TfW monitoring involved 43 sensors, ranging from 10 in the Wrexham area to three in the village of Llanrug.


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