Road safety has to be of paramount importance

Steve's baby daughter made amazing progress this week, or so his wife thought

STEVE CANAVAN: It was a lot of rattle over just a little roll

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All those people who have to crawl along to and from work on the A32 each day may well have a wry shake of the head at news that parts of the road in Gosport and Fareham could have the speed limit cut from 40mph to 30mph.

For them, stuck in peak-time tailbacks and inching painfully along, the idea of ever getting anywhere close to 40mph is a distant dream.

As Gosport council leader Mark Hook says: ‘During the peak rush hour, you are lucky to do 15mph down that stretch.’

But the speed on all roads is not governed by sheer weight of traffic, as it is on the notorious A32.

So we can see the sense in Hampshire County Council plans to cut how fast drivers can go at a series of accident blackspots.

A report outlines 48 routes where the speed limit could be reduced, plus five areas where a new speed limit would be advisory. They include stretches of road in Havant, Fareham and Gosport plus a number of rural routes in East Hampshire.

Clearly, the council has looked at accident figures when drawing up the list – and on the A32 between Salterns Lane and north of Rowner Road roundabout, there have been 72 accidents in the past five years, with 11 serious or fatal.

Whatever the state of traffic flow on that road, it warrants attention because of those worrying statistics.

In other cases, such as the 60mph B2148 between Rowlands Castle and Emsworth, the council has listened to campaigners as well as looking at the number of serious or fatal accidents before recommending speed limit reductions.

If these suggested new limits do end up being introduced some time between now and 2014, there are bound to be drivers who can’t see why they are being forced to slow down from speeds they have got used to over the years.

They will see only inconvenience and delays to their journeys.

But we believe safety and accident reduction must always be paramount.

Far better to get there a little more slowly than not at all.