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Speed Limit to Be Raised to 80 Mph in UK

Posted on the 30 September 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost

Speed limit to be raised to 80 mph

Motorway. Photocredit: Bob McCaffrey

Tired of juddering along at 70 mph on the motorway? Well, never fear – the government has announced plans to raise the speed limit to 80. (In France and Italy, of course, it’s 81; Ireland, Spain and Portugal whizz along at 75, whilst Germany’s autobahns are unrestricted.) Philip Hammond, the transport secretary, claims that such measures will bring benefits to the economy. The 70 mph limit was set in 1965 – and since then, technology has meant that there’s been a 75 percent drop in the number of people killed on roads (2,222 deaths on roads in 2009 – the lowest since records began). The same plans will also increase the number of 20 mph zones in towns. The Independent took the angle that raising the speed limit to 80 would mean that 90 would become the norm.

“Principally this is about the huge time savings that would be available by improving journey times, hundreds of millions of pounds worth a year of time savings,” Philip Hammond, transport secretary said, quoted on Sky.

It’s cruel not to! Sean O’Grady on The Independent was all for it, saying that now even the ropiest of cars can easily make 100 mph, whilst many can do even better than that. Most cars built in the last ten years can do faster than 70 mph – “It seems a bit silly, almost cruel, not to let them.”

“Drivers travelling that 10mph quicker might reach their destination sooner, but will use about 20% more fuel and emit 20% more CO2,” said Stephen Glaister, the President of the RAC, also quoted on Sky.

Hmmm… An editorial on The Guardian was not so sure, saying that the impact on CO2 emissions was too great; plus, if even one human life was lost because of the change, then the price would be too high.

The speed limit should be even higher! It’s about time, said Jeremy Clarkson on The Sun. The current speed limit was introduced when “it took between 300 and 400 miles to stop.” 80 mph is “good for the economy, polar bears and your soul.” The limit, in fact, should be 180 mph.

No it shouldn’t! Liz Voysey, however, in the same paper, (The Sun) said that this announcement was “like a knife through my heart.” The man who killed her daughter was driving at 80 mph – raising the speed limit will make it seem as if the government is sanctioning killing. The roads are full of selfish drivers, and this will only encourage them.

Yes it should! Richard Hammond on The Daily Mirror said, of course the safety lobby will “go mad”. But motorways are safe places to drive – and they’re getting safer. Most of us are doing 80 on the motorway anyway  – it’s mad to be restricted to 70. Sure, it uses more fuel to go at 80 – but so it does to go at 70. An increase in the speed limit will make our journeys shorter, and make everything less frustrating.

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