An increase in motorway speed limits to 80mph could be made law before MPs take their summer leave in July, according to reports in the Daily Mail newspaper.

The charity Brake is warning that raising the motorway speed limit would be a highly dangerous strategy that would undermine progress in reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured on UK roads. Research shows that raising the limit from 70 to 80mph would result in a 5-10% increase in motorway casualties. Put simply, the faster you drive, the less time you have to react to hazards, such as stationary traffic ahead, and the harder you hit.

According to the charity Brake, a rise in motorway speeds would also increase UK fuel consumption and carbon emissions, both of which are of keen concern to the public. At 80mph, a petrol car emits 14% more CO2 per kilometre than driving at 70mph, while diesel cars emit 25% more.

In the past few weeks, Spain's government announced a decrease in their motorway limit to 68mph in a bid to cut the country's reliance on oil in an increasingly unstable market and help consumers manage the price hikes they are experiencing at the pumps.

FIRE was told that increasing motorway speeds may not even reduce average journey times. The Transport Committee Report on Road Traffic Speed found that: higher speeds would do little to reduce journey times; on the congested motorways of England an 80mph limit might well increase them because it would create an uneven flow.

Ellen Booth, Brake's campaigns officer, said: "It would be simply immoral to raise motorway speech limits when research indicates it would lead to more deaths and serious injuries, which cause devastating trauma to families, and which are a considerable economic burden. It would also fly in the face of this Government's commitment to lower carbon emissions. In short, a decision to raise the motorway limit would go against safety, environmental and financial sense."


Posted: 11.10am, 15.03.11