Tiger.co.uk evaluates the current plan to change the motorway speed limit on UK motorways from 70 mph to 80 mph in 2013.
Since the transport secretary announced plans to increase the motorway speed limit from 70mph to 80 mph in 2013 there has been varying discussions on whether this would be beneficial or detrimental to UK motorists.
A number of organisations such as Greenpeace and RoadPeace have called for the plans to be reversed, as the proposed speed limit increase would have a negative effect on the environment, but also give rise to serious concerns over motorist safety. Experts have estimated the increase in the speed limit may result in an additional 25 fatalities per year and a further 100 cases of serious injuries.
In addition, a higher speed limit could have a significant impact on the environment as faster speeds means more CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere. A petrol car travelling at 80 mph emits 14% more CO2, while diesel cars emit 25% more, with experts predicting that as much as 2.2 million more tonnes of CO2 will be released into the atmosphere every year.
However the Department of Transport
has been auditing the motorway speed limit for a long time. The current speed limit was set back in 1965 when many of the safety features in modern cars did not exist. Advances in technology, design and safety mean that cars today are amongst the safest in history. Overall this has played a major part in reducing the number of deaths on UK roads by 75%.
According to the Association of British Drivers who has published an assessment made by the European Assessment Program (EuroRAP) shows that the UK has the safest roads in Europe, with the UK scoring the lowest road fatalities per 100,000 population and deaths per billion vehicle-km.
The Department of Transport has also proposed that the increased speed limit would generate important economic benefits, potentially worth millions per year and in addition this would bring the UK in line with many EU countries.
Trying to find a balance between safety, economic and environmental factors regarding the proposed changes is an obvious challenge. Andrew Goulborn, Commercial Director for car insurance comparison
site Tiger.co.uk commented:
“The proposed changes in the law could well be beneficial from a financial perspective but this should not be at the expense of road safety. The UK roads are amongst the safest in Europe but are also some of the most congested, so if we can reduce the congestion then an increase in speed limit could be beneficial – as long as it doesn’t lead to more accidents. From an insurance perspective if the change in the speed limit could reduce the number of accidents and convictions on our roads then it is possible that more people would have access to cheaper car insurance.”