March 16th, 2011 | Published in News
MPs look set to debate whether the speed limit on British motorways should be increased from 70mph to 80mph. A decision could be made on the matter before parliament breaks for summer in July.
However, road safety campaigners argue that any increase in Britain’s maximum speed limit will lead to an inevitable increase in road traffic accidents.
Research conducted by the Parliamentary Advisory Council on Transport Safety (PACTS) appears to support this opinion, suggesting that a speed limit increase of 10mph will increase road traffic accident casualties by between 5 and 10 percent.
However, the MPs behind the proposed increase hope that an 80mph speed limit will allow for shorter journey times and will help to ease congestion on some of Britain’s busiest motorways.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror, roads minister Mike Penning said: ‘We need to look at the economic benefits of shorter journey times as well as considering implications for road safety.’
However, a spokesperson for speed awareness campaigner Coyote noted that the plans are ‘sending out completely the wrong signal to drivers and mak[ing] a mockery of road safety policy.’
In an effort to quell the worries of road safety campaigners, the government will consider whether the speed limit increase should only be implemented during the day.
There were 132 road traffic accident deaths on UK motorways in 2009 at a time when the total number of road deaths was 2,222 – the lowest since records began. It remains to be seen whether this promising trend will be reversed by an increase in maximum speed limit.