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Brake welcomes move to scrap 80mph plans

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Brake has welcomed news reported in The Financial Times that transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin is resolved to cancel proposals for 80mph motorways, although an official announcement may not be made until later in the year.

However, the Department for Transport has said it will be going ahead with trials nonetheless, to which Brake is opposed.

Brake is part of the NO to 80 coalition, which opposes government proposals to increase speed limits to 80mph on motorways, arguing that it will result in more violent deaths and injuries on roads, increased carbon emissions and an increased financial burden on the public, the NHS and emergency services.

Instead Brake is urging the government to invest in more variable speed limits on motorways, with a top speed of 70mph, as this is a proven way to reduce crashes and casualties at the same time as reducing congestion.

Ellen Booth, senior campaigns officer, Brake, the road safety charity, said: "We welcome this indication that plans for 80mph limits will be ditched, and congratulate the Transport Secretary for the strength of this commitment to road safety. However, we'd like him to go further, by putting the brakes on any trials for 80mph. The evidence is there that 80mph limits would mean more violent deaths and injuries, so even a trial could lead to more families suffering the horror of a serious crash. Going ahead with trials would be a waste of money, given the weight of evidence that 80mph motorways would not deliver the benefits the previous transport secretary expected, and would instead mean increased casualties, costs and carbon emissions. Instead we would like to see commitment from government to invest in more variable speed limits on motorways, with the maximum remaining at 70mph, as this a proven way to reduce casualties while improving traffic flow."

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  • Tim Williams - 19/02/2013 14:24

    I think it would be a great shame if the Government drop their plans to increase the motorway limit. The real safety issue is the appropriateness of speed to the conditions. A variable speed limit that allows a maximum of 80 (or even 90)seems eminently sensible. Why should we be limited to 70 on a dry, clear, quiet motorway. However in busy or poor conditions the limit should be reduced accordingly. At the same time a minimum limit should also be introduced as they have in Canada to reduce the need for trucks to be forced into lane 2 to pass cars traveling too slowly. The issue of increased fuel consumption seems irrelevant to me, those who will drive at 80 or more, generally speaking, already do and those that want to avoid burning more fuel can stick to doing 70. If we can utilise existing technology better (for example getting the speed matrix warning signs on the motorway network to give accurate warnings rather that flashing up spurious or out of date messages) we should be able to travel the roads of the UK in a far more efficient manner, without compromising safety. Then let's get rid of speed camera vans and put video vans on the bridges focused on catching dangerous driving such as tailgating, undertaking and text messaging. Fit them all with ANPR cameras and they can target the uninsured drivers as well.

  • dean mandel - 19/02/2013 16:05

    Brake - the anti car fascists

  • James - 19/02/2013 16:36

    There is nothing wrong by doing 80mph on the motorway, most people already do. Cars have moved on from the day the limit was set and in general driving standards have improved. I think Brake should look at driving standards, improve driving tests, company car drivers to be tested and so on. The reason many people die is down to the fact they are driving at 80 on a country lane.

  • Bob - 20/02/2013 11:53

    I would like to see the results that show that an average speed of 50 improves congestion - is that because everyone sits in the fast lane, and then everyone else has to undertake?

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