POLITICIANS sometimes seem more than a little scared of the car lobby. When it comes to cutting dangerous air pollution or reducing disruptive climate emissions from vehicles, they tend to act very cautiously indeed.

This is despite the fact that many people don’t own cars and that cars are serious polluters. It may also sound like stating the absolute obvious but cars also kill when driven recklessly and at speed. Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher may have lauded the “great car economy”, but do we all have to agree quite to readily?

The latest evidence suggests that the Scottish public is far from in thrall to the car lobby. We report today that three quarters of the 1,500 responses to a public consultation on a proposal to cut the normal speed limit on roads in built up residential areas from 30mph to 20mph favoured the idea. An opinion poll has found similar levels of support.

This suggests that most people agree with the evidence that slowing down cars, lorries and other vehicles in residential areas would make our streets safer. Fewer children and adults will be seriously injured or killed.

How can anyone seriously argue against this? Isn’t a society in which people are still killed in road traffic accidents, a society that simply has to do better?

The proposal for a new Scottish law making 20mph limits the norm in built up areas comes from the Green MSP, Mark Ruskell. It has been backed by parents, environmentalists, councils and, crucially, health experts.

It doesn’t mean that every road will have a 20mph limit. But 20mph will be the default instead of 30mph, with councils having to listen to arguments as to why some roads may need higher speed limits.

The Sunday Herald has backed the proposal, and we are pleased that most people seem to share our views. We hope that Ruskell’s bill makes good progress through the Scottish Parliament - and that in the end the Scottish transport minister, Humza Yousaf, will back it.