Danish experiment suggests higher speeds can cut crashes
A trial being conducted in Denmark appears to be showing that increasing the speed limit on certain rural roads is reducing the number of collisions (Copenhagen Post).
The Copenhagen Post report says that two out of three road fatalities occur on Denmark’s country roads where the speed limit is 80 kilometres per hour.
Since 2011, Vejdirektoratet (the Danish road traffic directorate) has upped the limit to 90 km/hour on some stretches, which has resulted in fewer collisions due to a “reduction in the difference between the cars obeying the speed limit and those exceeding it”.
The trial runs until 2015 and as such cannot as yet be called a success, but the signs are encouraging at the halfway point.
Rene Juhl Hollen, a Vejdirektoratet spokesperson, said: “If there is a large difference between speeds then more people will attempt to overtake, so the more homogeneous we can get the speeds on the two-lane roads, the safer they will become.”
Nine years ago the speed limit on certain motorways in Denmark was increased from 110 km/h to 130 km/h and this resulted in fewer traffic fatalities on those stretches of road.
The police were initially sceptical about increasing the speed limit, fearing that people would drive even faster, but have changed their position based on the results from the ongoing experiment.
Erik Mather, the head of traffic police in South Zealand and Lolland-Falster, said: “The police are perhaps a little biased on this issue but we’ve had to completely change our view now that the experiment has gone on for two years.”
Brian Gregory, ABD joint chairman said the findings “vindicate what the ABD has been saying for years”.
Mr Gregory said: “Raising unreasonably low speed limits improves road safety by reducing speed differentials and driver frustration.
“It is now time for the Government to push ahead with raising the motorway speed limit to 80mph. It must also change its guidance to local authorities on setting speed limits, so that they are once again set at a level that commands the respect of drivers.
“This means reinstating the 85th percentile principle - setting limits that 85% of drivers would not wish to exceed."
Click here to read the full Copenhagen Post news report.