Pretoria - Motorists in South Africa are resisting a proposal to reduce the speed limit on urban roads to 40km/h from the present 60km/h.

This is despite the fact that most of them have admitted knowing that such a move would reduce road accidents as well as related injuries and fatalities.

South Africa has one of the highest road accident rates in the world, with the economic cost estimated to be R307 billion each year.

These findings were announced by Ian Steunenberg and Marion Sinclair of the department of civil engineering at the University of Stellenbosch.

They presented them during the Southern African transport conference at the CSIR international conference centre in Pretoria.

The survey sought to identify why South African road authorities were resistant to reducing urban speed limits.

Guests at the conference heard that participants were aware of the risks related to higher speeds, but the majority were not willing to see the government implementing lower speed limits in urban areas.

The knowledge of international speed trends was relatively high among the participants.

However, there was unwillingness to see South Africa implement international speed trends.

There were those who felt that lowering urban speed limits was an outdated approach.

At least 34.6 percent claimed the country was incapable of implementing reduced lower speed limit rules, while 59.5 percent of the respondents agreed that lower limits would reduce fatalities and injuries.

Only 21.2 percent of those who participated in the survey called for the lowering of the urban speed limit.

Interestingly, a number of individuals said reduced limits would be effective if South Africa had the capacity to enforce them.

When participants were allowed to select multiple options of what would ensure their speed compliance, 64.7 percent indicated speed limits.

Some said speed limits should be compatible with road design.

Steunenberg and Sinclair suggested more research be conducted into the matter.

Pretoria News