October 2011: Should we raise the motorway speed limit to 80 mph?

My recent e-consultation question Should we raise the motorway speed limit to 80mph?” saw a huge response, with more than 550 replies it’s the closest result so far;

  • 52% were in favour of raising the speed limit
  • 48% were against raising the speed limit

Common arguments in favour of raising the speed limit included:

  • With advances in technology the modern car is capable of travelling safely at higher speeds
  • Shortening journey times would benefit businesses and haulage industries improving the economy
  • The limit should be raised alongsideintroduction of tougher fines/penalties for those who break the law

Common arguments against raising the speed limit:

  • As drivers are regularly above the current 70mphper hour limit, an increase could see them closer to 90mph, jeopardising safety
  • Fears that an increase in speed may reduce the emphasis on improved rail and other public transport
  • An increase in speed would result in increased fuel consumption and higher C02 emissions

While the result is neither clearly in favour nor against, it is clear that people feel very strongly about this issue and have considered the question at length. Many people who commented also offeredalternative ideassuch as the need to consider otherfuel options, the use of electric cars or liquid petroleum gas (lpg) cars or reducing the speed limit during inclement weather or busy periods to improve traffic flow and avoid unnecessary accidents. The horrific recent accident in Somerset in which seven people were killed and 51 injured after the collision involving many vehicles, including six lorries, highlights how fatal travelling at high speed can be.

Many thanks to those who participated in the e-consultation, especially those who replied with comments. I willsend your feedback into the government consultation on this matter.

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