Labour set to back 80mph motorway limit

10.47 | 23 February 2012 | | 6 comments

The Labour party is ready to back moves to raise the motorway speed limit to 80mph, as long as the Government ‘drops its blind spot on road safety’, according to the Telegraph.

As the Government prepares to publish a consultation on whether the limit should be increased, Maria Eagle, Labour’s transport spokesman, has abandoned the party’s long standing opposition to the move.

However, while backing a higher limit, Ms Eagle wants the Government to reintroduce targets for cutting deaths and injuries on Britain’s roads – which were scrapped in the Coalition’s road safety framework.

It is also  rumoured that Justine Greening, the Transport Secretary, is less enthusiastic about raising the limit than her predecessor, Philip Hammond, reports the Telegraph.

Labour had been sceptical about the move following fears that pushing the legal motorway limit up to 80mph would mean that drivers would get away with driving at 90mph, because of the leeway allowed under existing police guidelines.

But Ms Eagle said that the higher limit could be introduced on roads where it is safe to do so, while elsewhere the 70mph ceiling could be cut where necessary on safety grounds.

She told the Telegraph: “We will not oppose an increase in the motorway speed limit to 80mph in certain circumstances provided Ministers drop their blind spot on road safety.

“However, rather than the blanket rise proposed by the Government, the right way to implement this policy is to extend variable speed limits to allow increases as well as decreases depending on local circumstances such as traffic flow and weather conditions.”

Labour would also look for a change in guidelines applied by the Association of Chief Police Officers which normally means a motorist will not face prosecution unless caught driving at 10% plus 2mph above the limit.

Ms Eagle added: “Any new limit must be strictly applied with no speed creep allowing the de facto limit to head towards 90mph and Ministers must explain how they will enforce it at a time of cuts to the police.”

Click here to read the full Telegraph report.


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    Talk, Talk, Talk, that’s all it is. The Labour party, not in power, can be seen on the side of the ordinary man in the street who knows what speeds are being done on the motorways.

    Labour also knows that the implementation or re-instatement of road safety matters would cost a fortune and so have suffered in the cuts required to tighten our belts.

    So its all blatha on behalf of the Labour Party and therefore just trying to score political points. A red herring.

    rcraven Lancs
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    So-called Intelligent Speed Adaptation will cause more collisions than it could ever prevent, through driver distraction and sudden braking.

    Since no crash is CAUSED by a driver exceeding a speed limit, no crash will ever by prevented by trying to ensure drivers do not exceed the local limit.

    I have seen reports from drivers of ISA equipped cars who have been frightened by the car’s behaviour. I have also asked those involved in its development for any risk assessment or safety case addressing the unwanted negative effects of ISA (none has been forthcoming).

    Any benefits are calculated using massively optimistic (actually totally unrealistic) assessments of crashes prevented. Further, the calculation then uses VALUES OF PREVENTED FATALITIES as if they are savings in expenditure, which the NAO has agreed they certainly are not.

    ISA is an almighty folly that needs to be killed off before it kills road users.

    Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    This should not go ahead until collision avoidance and intelligent speed adaptation systems have been implemented.

    Unfortunately, government does not seem to be encouraging either.

    Lord George Robertson indicated to the gathering at Road Safety Scotland’s 2011 seminar that little further would happen in the road safety field unless we shouted for it. So what are we waiting for?

    It would help, of course, if we heard of ACPO’s support for such systems – especially in view of the alleged cuts!

    Andrew Fraser
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    What do politicians know about good driving?

    Careful driver in the UK
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    Surely no-one wants road safety to become a set of political bargaining chips, traded for party gain?

    If the motorway 80mph limit is to go ahead, it really needs no other changes to be made at the same time, so far as is possible, in order to separate the effect of changing the limit from other effects. Eg, if enforcement changes at the same time so that 80mph is “strictly applied with no speed creep”, then we won’t know if any change is due to the limit being raised, or the change in enforcement levels.

    Dave Finney – Slough
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    What rubbish, this is riding on the back of the 7th Feb committee enquiry. ACPO do not oppose it but there will be no decision until more evidence is available for any benefit. Talk about it becoming a political word play!

    Anne Green Northants
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