Speed Bumps Help Kill 25,000 People a Year in England, Health Group Claims

Traffic calming measures could be contributing to serious respiratory problems.

byWill Sabel Courtney|
Speed Bumps Help Kill 25,000 People a Year in England, Health Group Claims

The road to hell is paved with good intentions—and apparently littered with speed bumps, too. They, and other traffic calming measures, can be linked to around 25,000 deaths a year in England alone due to the additional pollution generated as a result, a health advocacy group from Great Britain claims.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, which awkwardly abbreviates itself to NICE, is calling on municipalities to redesign speed bumps to reduce the amount of deceleration—and the accompanying acceleration that follows—required to navigate them.

Aggressive stop-and-go driving, NICE reminds us, burns more fuel and causes more pollution than smooth, steady vehicular operation. Road vehicles, the group also points out, are responsible for 64 percent of air pollution in cities and other urban areas, and air pollution is estimated to be a contributing factor in approximately 25,000 deaths a year in Britain.

The group also proposes a variety of other measures that most of us shouldn’t have much trouble getting behind. NICE suggests educating drivers—especially those driving buses and trucks—to drive more smoothly, which would probably do wonders for mass transit-related motion sickness, too. And the group also suggests greater use of “no idling” zones, especially in locations near where children or elderly people congregate.

Don’t go thinking NICE has only nice ideas for drivers, however. The group also proposes reducing speed limits in the name of cutting emissions, suggesting wider use of 20 mile-per-hour limits in residential zones...and a maximum speed of 50 mph on the highway.

...You know what? Speed bumps ain’t so bad.