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    Ministers to consult on 80mph motorway speed limit

    This is a discussion on Ministers to consult on 80mph motorway speed limit within the Everyday Life forums, part of the Community channel category; BBC News - Ministers to consult on 80mph motorway speed limit The Department of Transport is to launch a consultation ...

    1. #1
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      Ministers to consult on 80mph motorway speed limit

      BBC News - Ministers to consult on 80mph motorway speed limit
      The Department of Transport is to launch a consultation on increasing the speed limit on England and Wales' motorways from 70mph to 80mph.

      Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said the current limit, introduced in 1965, was out of date due to "huge advances in safety and motoring technology".

      The consultation begins this year with a view to raising the limit in 2013.

      The Department for Transport says as many as 49% of drivers flout the current 70mph limit.

      It says advances in technology have made cars much safer, contributing to a drop of more than 75% in the number of people killed on British roads since the 70mph limit was introduced.

      As a result, it says it is time to look again at whether the current limit is "still appropriate".

      But road safety charity Brake said it was opposed to any policy which could increase deaths on the road.

      'Fast lane'

      Mr Hammond said England and Wales' roads "should be the arteries of a healthy economy".

      He added: "Now it is time to put Britain back in the fast lane of global economies and look again at the motorway speed limit which is nearly 50 years old, and out of date thanks to huge advances in safety and motoring technology.

      "Increasing the motorway speed limit to 80mph would generate economic benefits of hundreds of millions of pounds through shorter journey times."

      Mr Hammond also said that motoring technology has "moved on enormously" from when the original limit was introduced.

      "Cars are much safer, they have more sophisticated equipment now than they did 40 or so years ago. They are capable of driving safely at higher speeds. There are enormous economic benefits to be had by increasing the speed limit and shortening journey times.

      "And the current limit has lost its legitimacy. We all know that many, many motorists who are otherwise law-abiding citizens routinely ignore the 70 miles per hour limit."

      Mr Hammond also said he did not think the rise would have a "significant impact on safety".

      He added: "The experience in other countries where the limit has been raised, is that actually, the average increase in speed is really, very small.

      "What we are doing here, is bringing a lot of drivers who currently, routinely break the speed limit, back on the right side of the law - and that has to be a good thing."

      'Empty gesture'

      The government says road safety remains a priority, and says it is taking action to tackle uninsured drivers and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

      European motorway limits


      • France- 130km/h (81mph)
      • Germany - 130km/h (recommended maximum)
      • Italy - 130km/h
      • Spain - 120km/h (75mph)
      • Portugal - 120km/h
      • Sweden - 110km/h (68mph)
      • Denmark - 110km/h


      Source: Europe.org
      BBC political correspondent Vicki Young said there had been some concerns within the cabinet about the change - Health Secretary Andrew Lansley is said to be concerned about road safety and and Energy Secretary Chris Huhne was worried about the pollution impact.

      Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: "There are good reasons for making 80 the new 70, and good reasons not to. Drivers travelling that 10mph quicker might reach their destination sooner but will use about 20% more fuel and emit 20% more CO2.

      "There is also likely to be a slight increase in road casualties. And what about enforcement? If police follow existing guidelines, many people could do 90mph before action is taken."

      Stephen Joseph, chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said: "Increasing the motorway speed limit to 80mph would not help the economy and would increase costs for drivers.

      "It would also add to pollution and increase road casualties. Responsible motorists know that driving steadily at or below 70mph is most fuel-efficient, reduces jams and is safer.
      "This is an empty gesture that in the end would not benefit anyone."

      Ellen Booth, senior campaigns officer at road safety charity Brake, said: "We are strongly opposed to the idea of raising the motorway speed limit.

      "We would be strongly opposed to any policy that would increase deaths on the roads.

      "To have such a policy would be unethical. Each death on the road affects not only the victim but their family too."
      Comment: What do you think?

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    3. #2
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      Re: Ministers to consult on 80mph motorway speed limit

      I am for upping the limit to 80 on motorways but nowhere else!

      Cars are much safer and stop much quicker now.

      To stop anyone going above 80 mph, fines should be huge!

    4. #3
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      Re: Ministers to consult on 80mph motorway speed limit

      It is a difficult one the way I see it.

      Sure cars can be safer but the drivers behind the steering wheels often need re-educating.

      How often do you see people just pulling out on the motorway with literally a couple of metres to spare in the slip road? Just how many people know to use the 2 second rule on the M25? You'll be lucky to get half a second most of the time.

      Sure your car might be relatively modern and safe, but too many still only get their cars serviced once a year, if you're lucky, and might even get an MOT done at the same time.

      Only the other day I had someone pull into lane 2 without signalling as I was moving from lane 3 to lane 2. Someone else raced onto the motorway from a junction and forced their way between myself and the car in front of me. The gap was less than 2 seconds before he/she squeezed in between. I was doing around 70mph on both these occasions.

      I won't plead to being a superb driver. I know that I have a few weaknesses (a friend is a driving instructor and she lets me know if I ask).

      She also has a camera in her car now and posts some of the incidents she sees on the roads, along with a few other instructors. I haven't seen them all, but she's described some of the classics.

      The rules in Germany are very different to those in the UK. Their equivalent of our Highway Code is actually law. If you don't have sufficient funds to pay the on-the-spot fines, you get done for it. The Police have the powers to assess responsibility for accidents there and then. If they believe that you could have avoided the accident, then both parties will be held responsible.

      Whilst much of the Highway Code is based upon law, much of it is just 'recommended' as best practise.

      If you saw the programme the other day on drivers who were over 100 you'd be thinking twice about letting them all near a mobility scooter, let alone a car.

      Having said all that...

      When the conditions are dry and the traffic is spaced out, I can't see any huge reason why the legal limit can't be increased to 80 or even 90mph.

      I do believe that some things must also be changed too, such as making the Highway Code law.

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      Re: Ministers to consult on 80mph motorway speed limit

      Unfortunately this is an old story, 2011 when Phillip Hammond was transport secretary, which never happened in 2013 which is when they were going to implement.

      I agree the speed limit should be raised and also do away with blanket 50's etc as all this does is cause bunching, anyone noticed that Highways agency have a habit of putting restrictions on around service areas even when there is no real problem but it causes bunching.

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      Re: Ministers to consult on 80mph motorway speed limit

      I learned to drive in Germany when in the army. I went straight to HGV. I had to pass three tests in one (UK, German & British Forces Germany) and two theory tests (British Forces Germany & German).

      I never saw a roundabout until I drove back to the UK two years after passing my test.

      The Germans were excellent drivers and if they indicated, they meant it, unlike those in this country. It has changed now and they are getting more like us and the USA sadly, but still much more disciplined than us. I return often as I have German friends there.

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      Re: Ministers to consult on 80mph motorway speed limit

      Scubbie, it isn't quite true to say that the Highway Code is just 'recommendations'. It is an 'Approved Code of Practice', which means that it can be used as evidence of correct behaviour and a driver would have to show that his/her behaviour was at least as good (safe) or better to avoid a prosecution for careless driving, i.e. to fail to follow the Code is not, in itself, an offence but can be used as evidence of an offence.

      The German codes are different and are law. The laws state that, in effect, no two vehicles can possibly be in the same place at the same time, so one must have broken the law if a collision takes place. The law also states that all changes of direction must be indicated though, as dog-man states, observance of this rule is less than it was. (I, too, passed my HGV test in Germany with BAOR!)

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      Re: Ministers to consult on 80mph motorway speed limit

      As I mentioned, much of the Highway Code is based upon law, but the rest is best practise. Certainly in a court you would have to prove whether or not you did the best thing in order to be able to get away with any conviction, but how about a simple red triangle?

      Their use is law in most countries on the continent. Over here most people have no idea what to do with them and rarely do you see them used. How many people in the UK now carry a fluorescent jacket with them? In France you need to have one in reach for every occupant of the vehicle.

      Hazard lights are to notify people that you have broken down, not in order to give you special dispensation to park on double yellow lines.

      All of these will sound sensible and I am sure that with a little bit of PPP more would have the necessary items to hand, but just how many know that it is in the highway code now?

      https://www.gov.uk/breakdowns-and-incidents-274-to-287
      1. Breakdowns (274)

      274

      If your vehicle breaks down, think first of all other road users and:

      • get your vehicle off the road if possible
      • warn other traffic by using your hazard warning lights if your vehicle is causing an obstruction
      • help other road users see you by wearing light-coloured or fluorescent clothing in daylight and reflective clothing at night or in poor visibility
      • put a warning triangle on the road at least 45 metres (147 feet) behind your broken-down vehicle on the same side of the road, or use other permitted warning devices if you have them. Always take great care when placing or retrieving them, but never use them on motorways
      • if possible, keep your sidelights on if it is dark or visibility is poor
      • do not stand (or let anybody else stand) between your vehicle and oncoming traffic
      • at night or in poor visibility do not stand where you will prevent other road users seeing your lights

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      Re: Ministers to consult on 80mph motorway speed limit

      I think many forget that at one time, unless a specific speed limit was indicated, the speed limit on all roads was 70mph. This was reduced to the present standards in the 70's due to the fuel crisis, not for any concerns about road safety. The unlimited speed on all roads was never reintroduced even when the fuel crisis was over. BBC ON THIS DAY | 15 | 1974: New speed limit to curb fuel use At the same time USA imposed a limit of 55mph, which is still in force in many states.

      I too took my first licence in Germany , first with the Army examiners then with the German police. All so that I could drive a tank a few miles on public roads a couple of times a year. There are no indicators on a tank.

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      Re: Ministers to consult on 80mph motorway speed limit

      Quote Originally Posted by Isitme View Post
      I too took my first licence in Germany , first with the Army examiners then with the German police. All so that I could drive a tank a few miles on public roads a couple of times a year. There are no indicators on a tank.
      No place to put a blue badge either, but I don't see many parking wardens complaining when a tank is parked on double yellow lines

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      Re: Ministers to consult on 80mph motorway speed limit

      There's a useful discussion of UK speed limits here: Road speed limits in the United Kingdom - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      I was never licenced to drive a tank on public roads, but I did drive armoured cars. Vision was very restricted and you relied on the commander sitting up in the turret to look all around.

      I do remember one occasion driving down a hill on a Sunday lunchtime just outside Oxford when a drunk pulled out of a side road. I remember hearing a "thump" and watching a chrome headlight trim bounce down the hill in front of me.

      It took us ages to find any mark on the armour plate to prove that he had driven straight out of the side road into the side of me.
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