Government to trial 80mph motorway limit

10.25 | 20 March 2012 | | 3 comments

The Government is to press ahead with trialling a condition-dependent 80mph speed limit on up to seven sections of the UK’s motorway network (MSN).

Justine Greening, transport secretary, has announced plans to test a condition-dependent limit similar to that in place in other European countries. According to MSN, ministers are using the French motorway system as an example where a lower limit is applied in poor driving conditions.

The variable 80mph limit will be applied through electronic signage on parts of the M25, M1, M6, M42 and M20.

According to the MSN article, safety cameras will be used to enforce the new trial speed, without the normal amount of leeway for drivers exceeding the limit. Police guidelines usually state a “10% plus 2mph” margin, which would enable drivers to travel at 90mph without prosecution. It is likely that the variable 80mph limit will only be used on motorways with three or more lanes,

Mike Penning, road safety minister, said: “I hope the public are listening to me, because average speed cameras, especially on managed motorways, are ridiculously accurate.

“The argument, which will be in the public consultation, is what we enforce over 80mph. The answer will be that 80mph will be the speed limit, and not, as we interpret it today, perhaps 90mph.”

MSN says that a study looking at the potential for introducing an 80mph limit, including details of the proposed pilot scheme, will be published in early summer.

Click here to read the full MSN article.


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    The motorways have been as they are for years and that’s not very good and the increase in speed ain’t going to change that so why bother wasting tax payers money?

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    This is a waste of time and money. Our money! The police guidelines allow for 70 + 7 + 2 = 79mph. All this for 1mph? Also, isn’t 70mph safer and more fuel efficient than 80mph? Does the government really want to be seen to be wasting money, decreasing safety AND ruining the environment?

    David McClune, London
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    They could increase the speed limit on some motorways to 100mph and it won’t make a scrap of difference if that particular piece of motorway has a lot of HGV traffic or caravaners.

    Such slow moving vehicles will have the same effect, no matter what the speed limit is and will continue to attempt overtaking, thus reducing the near total width of the motorway including the outside lane to a tailgating crawl.

    bob craven Lancs
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