Is It Time To Increase Speed Limits Asks Graham Hill

Saturday, 3. May 2014

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We are back onto speed limits. A new study, carried out in Denmark over the last 2 years by the Danish Road Directorate, has concluded that higher speed limits on not just motorways but also single carriageway rural roads makes roads safer and saves lives.

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They increased the limits on rural roads from 50mph to 56mph which resulted in fewer accidents. Slower drivers were observed to drive faster and faster drivers actually dropped their speed by 1mph. This resulted in less frustration and less overtaking as the differential between the fastest and slowest drivers decreased.

On sections of their motorways where speed limits were increased from 68mph to 80mph 9 years ago fatalities also dropped. The Alliance of British Drivers suggested that the latest moves by the Government to restrict speed limits further could be a step in the wrong direction following these findings.

A spokesperson for the Transport Research Laboratory was a little more cautious and said that the findings were ‘interesting’ but was more interested in the risk of injury rather than the risk of a crash which is what the report focused upon.

I can see the argument for higher speed limits on motorways, certainly after certain times at night when there are fewer cars on the road but not sure about single carriageway rural roads. It will be interesting to see if the Government takes this up. By Graham Hill

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