OXFORDSHIRE COUNTY Council is to fight rising accident levels by slashing speed limits on 111km of its rural roads.
Six routes with the highest injury accident rates will have speed limits cut from 60mph to 50mph and sections in villages will have limits halved to 30mph.
In addition, villages with 30mph speed limits already in place will have restriction zones extended.
The move follows publication last year of an AA report highlighting speed as a major source of road accidents (NCE 2 July 1998).
This week Oxfordshire completed its first project, imposing a 50mph limit on a section of the B4009 between Goring, west of the M40 at junction 6 and Chinnor, east of the motorway.
The project coincides with the halving of the 60mph speed limit on the adjoining A4074 through the village of Benson on the line of the route.
'Along the route from Goring to Chinnor we had 167 injury accidents in five years,' said Oxfordshire area engineer Brian Short. He said the county had already brought in traffic calming measures for most of its accident black spots and was tackling safety measures over longer distance routes.
The county also plans to enforce a 50mph limit on the entire Oxfordshire section of the A417, plus the A4074 between Wallingford and Reading, the A4155, the B4012 and the B4449.
It hopes to increase awareness by painting round 50mph restriction signs on the road surface at 350m intervals and using white lining to 'narrow' the road and discourage overtaking.
Red road surfacing will also draw attention to new speed limits in villages.