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3 October 2011

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond may raise the national speed limit on motorways from 70 to 80 miles per hour, with a view to implementing any change in early 2013.

The current national speed limit was set in 1965, but cars are significantly safer then they were then, contributing to a fall of more than 75% in the number of people killed on British roads since 1965.

Road safety is a top priority for the Government and action is being taken to tackle uninsured driving and help police enforce against drink and drug driving.

Analysis shows that raising the motorway speed limit would generate economic benefits worth hundreds of millions of pounds per year from savings of travel time.

Initial work by the Department suggests that setting the motorway speed limit at 80 mph is likely to represent the best balance of costs and benefits and it is similar to the motorway speed limit in other EU countries.

As many as 49% of drivers currently break the 70mph limit.

Ministers believe raising the limit to 80mph would mean millions of otherwise law-abiding motorists would be brought back inside the boundary, restoring the moral legitimacy of the system.

Philip Hammond said:

"I want to make sure that our motorway speed limit reflects the reality of modern vehicles and driving conditions, not those of 50 years ago.

"While we must ensure that our roads remain among the safest in the world, we must also consider the huge economic benefits that can be created by shortening journey times.

"Increasing the speed limit on motorways from 70 to 80 miles per hour for cars, light vans and motorcycles could provide hundreds of millions of pounds of benefits for the economy and I will put forward formal proposals for making these changes later this year."

The Government is also considering increasing the speed limit on other high standard, near-motorway dual carriageways.

Survey Results:

How often, if at all, do you break the speed limit on the motorway/highway, even if only by a fraction?

Always  37.3%

Nearly every day  23.7%

A few times a week  12.2%

A few times a month  11.9%

Less than often  9.5%

Never  3.5%

Don’t know  1.9%

How often, if at all, do you break the speed limit on the motorway/highway by more than 20mph?

Always  6.1%

Nearly every day  8%

A few times a week  11.8%

A few times a month  16.1%

Less often than this 30.5%

Never  25.5%

Don’t know  2%

If the speed limit was raised, would you be in favour of a corresponding increase in penalties for speeding?

Yes  34.7%

No  59%

Don’t know  6.3%

In your view, would raising the speed limit damage the government’s environmental credentials?

Yes, a great deal 7.2%

Yes, a fair amount  10.1%

No, not very much  36.9%

No, not at all  43.8%

Don’t know  2%

Which of the following motoring initiatives would you most like to see introduced?

A higher speed limit  41.5%

Less road works  13.8%

More roads  7.7%

More police on the roads  16.1%

Fewer speed cameras  16.4%

None of these 4.3%

Age of survey respondents

Under 24 14.4%

25-34 25.9%

35-44  27.3%

45-54  17.3%

55-64  9.3%

65-74  3.6%

75+  1%

Rather not say  1.1%


3 October 2011

Autocar research has today revealed that 94.6% of motorists admit to breaking the speed limit on the motorway.

Only 3.5% of survey respondents never accelerate past the 70mph limit and 1.9% don’t know if they speed or not.

The research carried out this weekend by Autocar, highlighted that 6.1% of motorists always drive at 90mph on motorways, 20mph over the speed limit.

Jim Holder, Autocar Editor said:

“With such a high proportion of motorists breaking the speed limit, it seems that The Prime Minister David Cameron looking at raising the motorway speed limit will be popular with the motorist. 41.5% of the Autocar survey respondents would like to see a higher speed limit. However, if David Cameron wants a real vote winner he’d be better off putting something back in motorists’ hard hit pockets by cutting fuel duty.”

59% of motorists would not be backing any initiatives to introduce any increase in speeding penalties.

80.7% of survey respondents do not believe that raising the speed limit would damage the government’s environmental credentials.

Click here to read the Survey Results: