Gearing Up To 80 MPH…
Reports this morning have revealed the government’s intention to increase motorway speed limits to 80mph. Anti-speed campaigners have been quick to raise their concerns over the plans, set to be enforced in 2013, leaving the Government’s Transport department to argue the benefits of the proposed speed increase.
The 70mph speed limit was introduced almost half a century ago; in this time the legal safety requirements when manufacturing a vehicle, as well as the safety implementations we have to legally follow when in control of a vehicle, have changed drastically. Philip Hammond, Transport Secretary, has argued that because of this, the 10mph change would not affect the roads negatively. He also commented on research that revealed that 50% of drivers already exceeded the current motorway limit and how increasing the limit would mean they were no longer breaking the law.
A majority of modern cars will now drive comfortably at 70mph and equally so at 80mph. In 1964, when the law was introduced, driving at the national speed limit was a ‘flat-out’ speed for most vehicles on the road. Drivers and passengers did not legally have to wear seatbelts and vehicles did not have the high quality safety implications they are readily fitted with today. It is arguable that these advanced developments mean we are not driving at our optimum and could improve UK roads with one minor change.
Many anti-speed protesters fear that by increasing the limit, we would see more fatal crashes on the roads. However, experts claim that with half of drivers admitting to reaching speeds of 80mph regularly when travelling on motorways, the impact of allowing motorists to do this would not be as severe as campaigners argue. Figures have also been released that demonstrate that since 1965, when the law was set, road accidents have fallen by 75% - further reinforcing the improvements in vehicles on British roads.
Many European countries have already raised the motorway limit to 80mph and some German roads do not even have an enforced speed limit, just an advisory. Amendments to current UK laws would not only match European legislation but also positively impact the financial climate, with research suggesting that the improved journey times would save the country millions of pounds.
This development for UK motorists has been discussed for many years and with a proposal having now been developed by the British Transport Department, it will only be a matter of time before we are speeding up!