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Motorway speed limit could be raised to 80mph

Friday 13th May 2011

The speed limit on motorways could be raised to 80mph according to a report in the Telegraph.

Phillip Hammond, transport secretary, has signalled that he is ready to lift the 70 mph limit to 80 mph, if it is in the interest of the British economy.

The Telegraph says that speed limits on rural roads could also be cut in proposals likely to be unveiled later in the year.

Mr Hammond called for a “rigorous cost benefit analysis of speed limits” which would look at a wider range of issues than safety alone. He told the Telegraph: "If you took just that view, you would have 10 mph limits everywhere.

"We need to look at the value of safety benefits and the cost in terms of additional journey time. It is a bit of a no-brainer that is how it should be done."

A DfT spokesman said: "We need to make sure that we are looking at the right criteria when considering what level speed limits should be set at. This means looking at the economic benefits of shorter journey times as well as considering the implications for road.”

Research carried out by the DfT in 2009 revealed that 52% of traffic on motorways travelled at more than 70 mph, with 37% of cars travelling at speeds between 70 and 79 mph.

The move to raise motorway limits has partly been triggered by the growing belief that cars can now be driven safely at higher speeds, says the Telegraph.

Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “We should not be prescriptive about speed limits. The existing limits are not right just because they’ve been around for years.

“Traffic conditions change over time as do policy priorities. If there is good evidence to support a case for putting limits up – or down – then we should do so.”

Click here to read the full Telegraph report.

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Increasing the speed limits on Britain's motorways makes a lot of sense. Today's vehicles can easily travel safely at these speeds and more, and to suggest drivers cannot drive safely at 80mph is patronising in the extreme. Faster journeys mean less time on the road, means less pollution. Next, let's reduce the number of traffic light systems!
David, Dartford.

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It's a brave Minister who cuts road safety budgets, cuts the number of traffic police, removes funding for speed cameras, cuts lollipop wardens, cuts LTP grants, cuts the roads maintenance budget, removes the targets to reduce death and serious injury on the roads AND then increases fuel duty, increases the threshold for a fixed penalty speeding fine as well as increasing speeds on motorways? Mmmmmm joined up Government at its best? Nevermind the price tag?....but what will be the human cost?

BTW: Controlled Motorways do not enforce the national speed limit and traffic police are stripped to the bone so how on earth will this new upper limit on motorways be enforced? In car safety features are only tested commercially up to 40mph - 80mph = there but for the grace of your God!....

Stop the war on the motorist? Shouldn't our elected politicians be saying "Stop the carnage on the roads"! If over 2,000 people died on any other form of transport there would be public outcry and the Minister would be held to account.....is stopping the war on motorists some kind of political code for "we should all be allowed to set our own moral speed limits?'....maybe more MP's are due to "fall from grace" so going soft on the rules now now will lesson future falls?
Susan, Warwickshire

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Back in February, Spain reduced their motorway speed limits to save fuel usage and thereby pollution. It may also help with making their roads a little safer. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. Now where did I leave my castanets?
David, Wirral

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And the estimated 18% raise in pollution levels caused by an increase in traffic speed falls in line with which of the Govt's green policies.....interesting!
Adrian Lancashire

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The root cause of many road safety problems is a large speed differential between vehicles, coupled with poor driving. How can an increase of the limit to 80mph do anything other than kill more drivers?
David, Suffolk

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Driving safely at the current limit of 70 mph is often beyond the capability of many motorists. They fail to look far enough ahead and therefore are unable to make decent driving plans. They get away with it because the road has been engineered to be 'low confrontation'. Raising the limit will see many drivers routinely travelling at nearly 90 mph, and road safety must suffer. The Govt. will spend no money on promoting better driving standards, or further training.

Quite how the motorists can be encouraged to drive faster, and therefore less efficiently, when finite fuel supplies are so expensive beggars belief. Is people's time so precious that they simply cannot get to their destination at a sensible and safer speed? I see this as nothing more than another attempt to convince the public that the non-existent 'war on the motorist' is over, and to thereby win votes.
David, Suffolk

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