The motorway speed limit debate – 80mph ‘not safe’

Motorways are not suitable to cope with raising the speed limit according to the Road Safety Foundation (RSF).

The charity believes England’s motorways do not provide enough protection to drivers for an increase to the current limit. It found that half of the networks barriers are inadequate to cope with the increased speed and that neglect in the maintenance has exacerbated the issue along with trees being planted too closely to many motorways.

Later this year the Government is set to launch a consultation on the economic, environmental and safety implications of raising the limit, after the transport secretary Philip Hammond put the proposal forward last year. It is expected that if the limits where changed it would only be so on stretches which are suitable.

When the plans were announced in 2011 many motorists pointed out that the current limit on 70mph is consistently flouted and in actual fact the speed on most motorways is already 80mph. The RSF said it recognised the argument that respect for the 70mph limit was poor and it did not dismiss proposals to raise the limit. But the report concluded: “Drivers who want to are already travelling at 80mph when they can. Economic benefits only arise if ’80 means 90′ and opinion surveys show no public support for that. However, large economic benefits arise from fixing the motorways systematically rather than raising the speed limit.”
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