The commonest traffic calming device is the speed hump. Speed bumps, speed humps, sleeping policemen – whatever you like to call them, most people are all too familiar with them. Most of us reluctantly slow down when we see them – which of course, is the point. Some of us probably drive over them far too fast, and almost everyone dislikes them.
Surprisingly, the speed hump is almost as old as the car itself – the world's first one was installed in the United States in 1906, while the first speed humps in the UK were introduced in the 1970s by the Wilson government. You can visit this site if you want to know more about traffic calming.
The advantages of speed humps are clear. If used correctly, they are intended to slow vehicles down and potentially cause fewer accidents. Despite this, there are various claims that they actually cause more accidents as well as being damaging to vehicles and people and causing greater pollution.
In recent years, speed humps have been in the news more than you might think. In June 2003, the London Borough of Barnet announced it was going to tear up every speed bump, because of driver complaints. And a Nottinghamshire village – which boasts 125-speed humps – voted by a 98% majority to remove all their humps.
Many drivers claim that they are so preoccupied with having to slow down for speed humps, that they are actually distracted to the point of not seeing other vehicles or pedestrians. However, ROSPA (Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents) points out that on average, 1 in 10 pedestrians will be killed if hit by a vehicle going at 20 mph, as opposed to 9 out of 10 killed if hit at 40 mph.