Monday, 26 September 2011

No to increasing the speed motorway limit to 80mph

I am gob-smacked that the government wants to raise the speed limit on motorways to 80 miles an hour after years of telling we motorists  speed kills.

This is the most misguided, foolish piece of motoring legislation  I have heard of. The reason for its introduction is so  fickle – most drivers exceed the limit so the 70mph  is unenforceable.  So if enough of us break an law for long enough then the law can be changed – tell that to the recent rioters. Further there is talk of this higher speed limit boosting the economy as we will  reach place  quicker – have they ever  driven on the M25 , M3, M1, M4 at any time. There measures are in place to reduce the speed to increase traffic flow.

No mention is made of the savings that can made for travelling slower – real money being saved. The US limit of 55mph is no arbitrary limit , that speed was chosen as it was on the average  the most fuel efficient speed for most engines. Engine efficiency falls off rapidly after 55 mph falling by a staggering 28%  at 80mph when compared to consumption at 55 mph.

This change does not make sense at any measure – legally: we simply do not change laws when sufficient  people break a law; safety; speed kills: Germany has over twice as many deaths per year on motorways; economically: at 80 mph we are throwing away one third of the money, when compared to 55pmh, we spend on petrol to reach the next traffic jam... faster.

If the Government was really serious about climate change and reducing the nations's carbon footprint transport as it is the second highest,, after industry producer of carbon would seem a sensible place to try to cut back.

The UK has some of the safest  roads in Europe let us keep it that way; keep the speed limit at 70mph – you and your pocket know it makes sense. 


  1. What a totally factually incorrect and misguided article this is.

    Your opening argument refers us to a link that discusses the increased risk of death when a pedestrian is hit at 40 mph rather than 30mph. Quite correct! Indeed if we extrapolate this further it is generally accepted that if hit at 45mph or above death will occur. What has that got to do with motorway driving !!! Only 3% Yes 3% of road deaths occur on motorways! And by and large it is not pedestrians being hit as they walk along the fast lane. What is your point ????

    Yes, there are measures in place to reduce the speed, to increase traffic flow in congested situations and they work. What is your point?? Are you suggesting that we slow the traffic (all 3 of them) on the M45 at 03:00 !

    As for the USA there maximum speed on certain roads is 80 mph (Just like we want) others are 70 or 75mph. They learnt that their old system of 55mph was totally impractical and did something about it. As you say, let’s follow their lead!

    Engine efficiency and consumption is a factor of the type of engine. The 55mph figure is not applicable to all engines. Certainly if you are driving a small Hybrid engine will have more efficiency than a humungous petrol engine. Clearly if you are going to Talk the Talk you need to Walk the Walk Michael. I seem to recall that you drive an E Series Mercedes Benz with a very significant engine in it. (Does your Ego excuse you from the rantings we have to endure ?)

    The fact that you of all people, quote a private enterprise Lysanda. (Yes, Lies and a lot more) who’s business aim is to make money from the murky and non exact science of carbon production, as the basis of the UK’s position in Europe. Means that you are really scaping the barrel for your views.

    Come on Michael, you can do better than this!

  2. I sense that you understand the case that increased speed will kill more, that it pollutes more and that it costs more as you choose to argue the detail and use even more words (328 to my 325) to make your fundamentally failing case – there are no rational grounds to increase the speed.

    As for my car its diesel which is less polluting than petrol ( and returns on average 41.2 miles per gallon and very economically satisfying 53 miles per gallon on a run so I make no defence for driving a car with ‘a very significant engine in it’ what you once called a tractor... it satisfies my ego as well as my pocket!

    So, please take a reasoned, unemotional look at the facts and I'm sure you'll agree there is no sane reason to increase the motorway speed limit.

  3. Interesting point made in a letter in Monday's Times (3/10/11) we could make better (and safer) use of our motorways if we all stuck to the constant two second gap, then roughly 1,800 cars an hour could use each lane (and stop in time if needed). Rather than this stop-go high speed tail gating that speeds in excess of 70mph seem to encourage.

  4. Michael, I have just read your recent comment about tail gating and totally agree with you! However why ruin it with the comment about ‘over 70mph’ the issue is bad driving not the speed. (You seem to be very ‘hung up’ on this speed issue).
    Back to your previous comment.
    When I read your blog I had not heard any details of the government plans, so was responding specifically to your comments, with which I totally disagreed. I have now read the proposal and can with confidence state:
    FUEL CONSUMPTION - An increase from 70 to 80 will have a minimal impact and be dependent upon engine size. As every current article is stressing, SPEED PER SE, is not the issue. Style of driving has far far more importance. BTW can you really comment on climate change issues re emissions? I certainly am totally confused by the differing reports by supposed experts.
    COST MORE - Really not sure of your point here, as it only impacts those that choose to pay more! And good for them, more money into taxes thereby saving jobs. Great news! If the Gov. are right and business will be more productive (logical I think) Then will ultimately cost us all less.
    SAVING LIVES AND SERIOUS INJURIES - Fantastic! THE BILL WILL DO THIS. You seem to have missed the speed reductions planned for 30 mph hazard areas to 20MPH. As I previously stated this is where injuries/ deaths occur. Indeed 55% of all deaths are in this speed zone, not on the motorways. Motorways are comparatively a safe haven for us all.
    FINALLY AND ECHOEING THE GOVERNMENTS VIEW. How can a limit introduced 50 years ago still be correct now??? By all means state the limit should be reduced for whatever reason or that it should be increased due to car capabilities etc. but to infer 'let's not do change' probably sets the tone for your views.
    I have been unemotional and reasoned (adding justifications) in my response. If you plan to reply, then please specifically state where my facts are wrong, and if you are unable to, then please accept that your 'rants' were based purely upon your perception and emotion rather than any reasoned process.