Streetlights fitted around residential areas designate a blanket 30mph speed limit. However one legal expert has suggested that having these streetlights switched off could provide a loophole for those caught speeding.
With many councils switching off streetlights in residential areas at night to save money, the legal standing of 30mph limits in residential areas signified solely by the presence of streetlights – and without speed limit signs – is under question
Motoring lawyer Antony Hook says that part-time streetlights, which are switched off in the middle of the night to cut energy use, could mean that blanket speed limits may not apply, reports the Telegraph.
Many, or even the majority, of residential roads do not have speed limit signs and are legally restricted to 30mph if they have working street lights up to 200 yards about.
The Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 says that roads are limited to 30mph: “If there is provided on it a system of street lights not more than 200 yards apart,” though Mr Hook states that these laws are bypassed in the middle of the night when the lights have been switched off.
Hook continued: “Many, or even the majority, of residential roads do not have speed limit signs and are legally restricted to 30mph if they have working street lights up to 200 yards about.
“The courts have ruled that speed limits may not apply if street lights are broken, too far apart or illuminate the pavement instead of the road.
“It follows that there is a strong legal argument that switching off street lights can in some cases remove a speed limit and provide a defence to a person charged with speeding.”
Research earlier this year found that 324 more people were killed or seriously injured in collisions at night on roads with streetlights switched off than in the previous year. Two-thirds of councils currently switch off streetlights at night to cut costs, which has also lead to increased fears of crime in certain areas.