FIVE areas of Darlington are to benefit from new speed restrictions in a bid to improve road safety.

From September, a 20mph limit will come into force in Bank Top, Lascelles Park, Red Hall, the Corporation Road area of the Denes and Oakwood Drive estate.

The areas were all chosen following a study into roads across Darlington. The study looked at accident records, with an emphasis on child casualties, and the effect of speed on pedestrians and cyclists near shops and schools.

Residents in the five chosen area were asked for the opinion on the proposals. Consultations also took place with emergency services and bus operators.

The new limit in the Denes will expand on a previous scheme which is in operation in Corporation Road and Salisbury Terrace.

A sixth zone in Fitzwilliam Drive and neighbouring roads is being redesigned following comments from residents.

Councillor David Lyonette, cabinet member for transport, said: "Road safety is an important issue for the council and these 20mph zones will help to make these areas of Darlington safer.

"They will help reduce the number of residents injured in road accidents and provide a safer environment for people to live in.

"From September 1 these new restrictions will come into force and will be enforced by the police where necessary."

The number of reported road traffic casualties in Darlington has dropped from 2006 to 2007 by 21 per cent to 384 casualties.