80 miles per hour on motorways. Show me evidence this won’t increase accidents.

My views on Road Safety are fairly well-known.



Yesterday, I asked a question about plans to increase the speed limit on Motorways to 80 Mph. Had the Transport Secretary done any work to estimate the implications of increasing the speed limit on Motorways?

Oral Answers to Questions – Transport: Topical Questions (19 Apr 2012)


John Leech: Has the Secretary of State now calculated the cost associated with increasing the motorway speed limit to 80 mph and the increased number of casualties expected as a result of such a measure?

The Secretary of State said that an impact assessment would take place as part of the consultations. Why an impact assessment couldn’t take place before the proposals were made in the first place answer came there none!

At Business questions, I followed up by asking for a debate in parliament.


John Leech: During Transport questions the Secretary of State confirmed that the Department has no idea of the cost of increasing the motorway speed limit and its impact on road casualties. Given that the Opposition have already come out in favour of a policy that will cost millions and cost lives, may we have a debate in the House on the financial implications and the cost in human life of an increase…

Now, perhaps the Labour front benches are happy to change the limit. And perhaps so are Transport ministers. That does not make it right. I will not be voting for any change unless I can see clear evidence that the increase in the speed limit does not adversely affect road safety, or increase pollution.

Show me the evidence……


8 responses to “80 miles per hour on motorways. Show me evidence this won’t increase accidents.

  1. Your argument is flawed. You cannot have evidence that something won’t happen, from a logical scientific viewpoint the onus if on you to provide evidence that it will. Your argument is tantamount to the fundamentalist “show me evidence that there is no God”. Disappointed.

    • Anonymous, it is not my job to disprove a theory. It is up to those wanting to change the law to make their case.

      As a law maker, I am saying that I won’t be voting for a change in the law unless I see evidence that the changes are for the better, on both road safety and environmental grounds.

  2. You fail to flag up the reasons behind the increase. As a huge proportion of the population already travel at 80mph or above on motorways, the law needs to be changed to respect the ‘will’ of the people. 70mph is outdated if the majority of road users break the limit. Therefore the argument regarding it costing more lives is not only flawed in the sense that there could be no evidence available, (as pointed out in a previous post) but also in practical terms as realistically the law changing will make little difference to what is already happening on the roads.

    You may now argue that the increase in the limit will mean people go ahead and break that limit too, but there is no possible way to tell until the change happens. For now, the change can only be a positive move.

    • What you are saying is that in your opinion a huge propotion of people alread break the law by speeding, and to increase the legal limit to 80mph will satisify the need of the law breakers.
      There are many of us out there who do not break the law by speeding because we understand the relationship betwen speed/distance/time..(see studies by prof. Ian Johnson of Monash Uni.)
      If we put aside the thrill of driving at 80mph, and as we see every day on lane 3 of a motorway driving too close to the vehicle infront. The time saved travelling at 80mph over 70mph on a journey of say 60 miles would be 6.4mins…just time to boil an egg.
      There would of course be more wind resistance leading to an increase in fuel consumption, the need to plan and read the road much quicker, and of course we can’t beat physics, you lose half your speed in the last 5mtrs of braking so no matter how good a driver you are or the car you drive you will hit the object infront at a higher speed and cause more damage.

      The answer is of course education for all motorists.
      I think that we should lower the speed limit on motorways……and just……’Enjoy the ride’

  3. Well done and thank you for raising this. Increased fuel consumption leading to increased global warming (so much for a green government) and costing motorists more for their journeys as well as a result. More death and injury on the motorways. And the time savings on journeys are likely to be very small. Within a couple of years the police will turn a blind eye to anything under 90mph. Of course we don’t have to all drive faster but the reality is that we will. Whether it’s unconsciously or consciously (to avoid being a constant, dangerous obstacle while travelling at 65-70). Please keep raising this issue.

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