Thursday, June 20, 2024
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Police plan to halve speed limits on Japan’s residential roads

The National Police Agency (KLPD) unveiled a new initiative on Thursday to halve the speed limit on narrow roads in residential areas from the current 60 kilometers per hour to 30 km/hour with the aim of increasing pedestrian safety.

After a period of public hearings, the agency aims to review and implement the Road Traffic Act and other relevant regulations by September 2026.

The proposed amendment maintains the current limit of 60 km/h on roads with a center line or multiple lanes, while reducing the limit on roads without a center line to 30 km/h. Motorists on roads with specific speed signs will continue to respect these limits.

Research shows that the risk of fatal injuries to pedestrians increases significantly when vehicle speed exceeds 30 km/h, the NPA said. That’s why a panel of NPA experts recommended lowering speed limits on roads often used by pedestrians to 30 km/h or lower.

The agency has promoted ‘Zone 30’ initiatives, which limit speeds to 30 km/h in designated zones, mainly residential areas, and is now moving towards a more comprehensive overhaul of speed rules. But the difficulty of installing speed limit signs on all residential roads has meant that some of these roads still have a 60km/h limit.

In addition to the speed changes, the agency is also adjusting regulations for pedestrian crossings.

The maximum allowable distance between the white lines at intersections will increase from the current 45 to 50 centimeters to 90 centimeters to increase the gaps between them. This change is intended to help drivers avoid ruts and improve the durability (and visibility) of road markings. The updated system is expected to be operational by the end of July this year.

Translated by The Japan Times

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