The ad from pro-motoring group “Unchain the Brighton Motorist” appeared in The Argus on 18 July 2014. One of the headings read “Casualties rise by more than 20% on 20 mph roads”. The ad implied there was a relationship between 20 mph speed limits and an increase in casualties. The ad has been judged to be misleading and unsubstantiated by the advertising regulator. The ASA have told Unchain to ensure they do not make claims in future about the relationship between speed limits and casualties if they cannot substantiate them. The ad breached the code on misleading advertising, substantiation and qualification, and it must not appear again in its current form.
This is the third time the ASA have ruled that advertisements produced by the Unchain group have been misleading. There have been four rulings in total on Unchain the Brighton Motorist, with three upheld or partially upheld
Becky Reynolds of Bricycles said “We complained to the ASA about this ad and we welcome their ruling which confirms our view that the ad was misleading. We don’t want to see the public misinformed about a crucial area like Road Safety. Far from an increase in casualties, the data in Brighton and Hove for phase 1 of the 20 mph area shows that there has been a decrease in both the number of casualties and the severity of injuries when the figures for 8 April 2013 to 7 April 2014 are compared with the previous three years. Collisions are also down. We are strongly in support of slower traffic speeds which are a great step forward for the safety of all road users.”
Figures for the first year of 20 mph Phase 1 implementation are at www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/20mph Casualties and collisions are significantly down. Figures for Phase 2, implemented in July 2014 are not available yet.
In a separate ruling, following a complaint from the Unchain group about a Brighton and Hove City Council leaflet, the ASA supported the Council’s statement that a 20mph speed limit leads to a reduction in road collisions and the severity of casualties and improves the quality of life of local neighbourhoods. It’s good news that the ASA agree on this crucial and frequently disputed point. However they ruled against the Council’s claim that 20 mph limits encouraged more walking and cycling for local trips which in turn would bring significant health benefits and reduce congestion. They do not accept that there is enough evidence!